Posted in Ambitions, Challenges, Uncategorized

The real picture of life in US

Dear Diary,

Remember I once spoke about how life in US has its own pros and cons. It’s not as perfect and rosy as we see it to be, sitting here!? Well, as my yearning to go there increases (Well, I’m staying at my in-laws place these days. What to say!?) I think it’s time to write down those reasons.

The reasons why people living in India wish to go there

1. Romance (+easy sex) is in the air, thanks to all the movies/serials that we see

2. World of job opportunities

3. Growth prospects

4. Cleanliness

5. Availability of resources

6. Medical facilities

7. You earn shitloads of money that you never earn here (India being my point of comparison)

8. Awesome places to visit

If I’m not mistaken, I have covered pretty much all the reasons here. I’m not including ‘peer pressure’ here which is, unfortunately, one of the major reason for people to migrate. I’m not including it because that’s not ‘your’ choice then. It’s your incapability to make a choice on your own.

Now, let me burst the happy bubble slowly and steadily here

1. Romance: As much easy-going and fun-to-be-with US people seem from the movies, it’s totally opposite. People don’t interact with strangers. They don’t even talk to their neighbors so unless you work together or are relatives, or met at university, chances are you’re as lonely as Bhaskar from the movie Partner. And, you don’t need to be a Bhaskar to reach that position.

When I went to US in 2009, the only people I met or spoke to were my colleagues. This has nothing to do with the fact that I spent most of my day working my ass off in office. This is also because nobody talks to you. If someone approaches you at a random bus-stop, while you wait, it would be a person trying to make you change your religion and accept the holy bible and Jesus.

I did approach couple strangers once in a while, when I was stuck in a situation, like looking for coin-change to call home. Stuck somewhere without a mobile and must call someone for help. So, stuff like that. But, I don’t think any of them became my buddies. Or, would have agreed to exchange numbers (either gender) if I had asked for. People are extremely private and cautious of whom they share it with.

There was a time when I was so lonely and thirsty for some conversation that I broke down in front of my parents on a skype chat. That was when my brother dug up his friends-circle and got me in touch with a friend who was pursuing his studies there. I ended up spending a day with a guy 4.5 yrs younger than me. Practically a brother. So, no romance there.

So, all in all, if you’re not signing up for a university which brings you to US, I don’t know how you’ll get to make friends or interact with people.

In India, things are way better. If you keep going to your local park every day, there are chances you’ll find some yoga friends, or walk-friends, or market-friends. You could even stand and talk to the grocery-man if nothing else. Forget everything. If you were bored, you could go to Connaught Place and do some window-shopping. There’s no concept of CP in San Fransisco.

No wonder there is such high percentage of depression and suicide cases there.

2. World of job opportunities: There are lot of Indians in Bay Area. So, I don’t see any dearth of opportunities there. I haven’t tried it for myself so I don’t really know the complete picture in that regard. But, the work culture is a different ballgame all together.
The work culture is quite different there than India. In India, because of the sheer number of people you’re competing with, chances are you’re growing up in the ladder with minimal efforts. If you were ambitious, you would see a major accelerated growth. Things get pretty competitive in US. In semiconductor industry, where I’m employed, most people are Ph.d. You may meet some M.Sc but meeting a B.Tech or B.Sc? Chances are close to none.

Since people are so highly qualified, and the number of jobs are quite limited, you work extra-hard to prove your worth. The expectations are way higher. The work environment is always about technical discussions. People never ever talk about their personal lives. They don’t share unless it’s a causal 1-2 liners about their kids or pets.

3. Growth prospects: If you’re an Indian who was brought and bred on competitions and ambitions, you would have a hard time adjusting to the settled life in US. The increment is almost same, no matter how hard you perform. The starting salary, the increments, it pretty much is set. There is very little difference. So, if you want to grow, you really have to think and work out-of-the-box. Something like a part-time-job to increase your salary from what it is. Or, startups etc.

4. Cleanliness: This is one place where I’ll go hands-down and bow to the place. There’s no comparison and never can be.

5. Availability of resources: Yes, it’s true that you’ve most things there. But, I don’t see a dearth of the same things in India now. Indian market is catching up quite fast. There are very few things which are available there and not available here. Unless you start talking of 5% fat milk, or low protein 1% fat milk. You got the drift, right!?

6. Medical facilities: The doctors, the facilities are world-class. It’s no question that if you’re struggling with a disease and there is a cure known to mankind, then you’ll get it in US. There’s no question about that. The medical team gives their 100%, more than 100% to make you live. But, if I were to look at it from the other angle, I’m not so sure. If I had a severe disease, or my kins had it, I would definitely want to be in US. But, if I didn’t, the medical insurance is a pain.

If you’re lucky to be fit and fine, it’s nothing but a significant chunk of money getting cut from your salary. You bear with it thinking it’ll help in my times of need. But, if you were to actually fall sick, they take care of your costs at that time, but they pump up your premium going forward. So, what you paid them doesn’t matter any more. Your medical history will have the disease in it, and your premium goes up. So, you end up paying whatever they paid you during your time of crisis, after the crisis passed.

I heard of a family where the wife required Physiotherapy regularly and the husband was extremely bitter about the medical insurances and the ways of US.

Another friend had someone part of a minor car accident. You would think my car insurance would protect me. On the contrary, the accident goes into your credit history. Your premium goes extremely high. You realized the insurance company didn’t pay as much for the damages than what you’re paying now as part of premiums.

It’s ultimately a vicious circle which ends up beefing up the capitalist society and sucking from the common man.

In India, things are way more accessible.

7. Money: This is the biggest myth most people have. No matter what salary they’re offering you, you would end up spending 70-80% of it on your living costs. From what you save, even if you were living meager, you’ll realize, over long term, it is equal to what you would have made in India. Here you earn less, you save some. There you earn more, save in dollars, but the conversion only happens once – when you return. And, it may look like a lot at that time, it ends up being not much. And the people living out of India, in that whole time, would have made much better from their savings while you would be starting all over.

8. Awesome places to visit: This is true but if you have the money, you could go visit any place on the earth. You don’t need to be living in US for that. And, from my point of view, worthy places to visit are in Europe than in US. So, if you must live abroad, live in Europe 😉

What do you think?

-Hope

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2 thoughts on “The real picture of life in US

    1. It’s more from the viewpoint of what Indians think of US than from what US actually is. I hope it’s not sounding derogatory in any terms, because that was sincerely never the intention. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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