Friday, August 21, 2009

NRIs or Not Required Indians!

India has it own national flag. It’s own National Bird. Also it’s own National flower.

What if we have a National fruit?

I would vote for an Orange!

Nothing describes us better than an orange. We look as one united country till we peel the cover.

As if the divisions based on caste, religion, state and geography are not enough, we keep reinventing ourselves. Now it is a NRI vs. RI.

I was reading an interesting blog deriding the NRIs in the ‘Times of India’. The writer was extolling his readers to royally snub them. Interestingly his biggest grouse against the NRIs was and I quote ,

“Taking advantage of a more connected world, the professional NRI (who knows no other identity) has stepped up his battles to cast India in his own confused image. No Indian website is free from the voluminous but pernicious comments of the know-all, ultra-nationalist NRI banging away on the computer in splendid isolation.” Unquote.

Looks like the writer is in need of serious medical attention. His head is stuck in his ass. Else he would realize that he was doing the same precise thing for half his life. Worse still, he was getting paid for it, unlike the hapless NRIs who were doing it for free in their fits of “ Ultra Nationalism”!

O Tempora O Mores!

I wish people like him breathed a little less so there would be enough fresh air for nice and decent people.

I do not wish to blindly support NRIs.

But there are good and bad in them.

Two years back I was returning from Kanpur after visiting a dear friend in IIT. The Kanpur Airport is a very small one . Understandably, there is a limit on the free luggage since the plane is very tiny.

In came an NRI family.

They brought so much luggage that I got the feeling that perhaps their home caught fire and they had to bring everything to the airport. They were not the first time visitors and very well knew the luggage rules. I bet they do it every year to sneak in some free baggages.

The girl at the counter was very patient and polite. She explained that they had exceeded the limit five or six times over and will have to pay. This Diva threw a tantrum and acted pricey .She complained to whoever would listen that she had traveled all over the globe and had never seen such discourteous behavior anywhere in the world.

Luckily the station manager came in. He was a no nonsense man. He curtly told the counter girl that if they don’t pay the penalty ask them to leave. (Hats off to him!)

Then she insisted on paying by credit card. The counter girl again explained that this was a very tiny airport and does not have that facility.

My bad luck I was behind her and she could make out from the size of my bag that I was an NRI as well. So she looked at me for support and commented that these people love harassing NRIs. I cheekily commented, “ well Mam. You have exceeded the limit.
If you commit a crime you pay for it ,right? It’s the same everywhere in the civilized world. You are doing no favor ”. i deliberately used the word crime.

Her stare was so cold that I feared that I would catch a flu.

Her husband , meanwhile , was staring wistfully at a burkha clad woman. I bet he would have paid in dollars to wear that .

Her behavior was utterly disgraceful and cannot be condoned in any way.

Another time I was coming from Hyderabad by AP Express. The train reaches Gwalior at 3.45am , an ungodly hour in the best of times. To make matters worse, it was winter.

The attendant failed to wake me up and I was in Agra before I knew. There was Shatabdi Express in an hour. I boarded that.

A mild mannered avuncular gentleman sat next to me. He was going to Bhopal.

Now the ticket fare in this train covers for the breakfast and lunch. They grade according to the distance. since Gwalior is close, they simply give a coffee/tea and some biscuits But a full breakfast to the passengers going to Bhopal.

So the waiter served only for the passengers going till Gwalior.He served my co- passenger also by mistake. The most embarrassing thing that could happen was that as that good man picked the biscuits, this young waiter snatched it from him and said this is not for you. To make him feel better, I immediately offered him mine and lied that I had my breakfast in Agra.

I presumed that he must be some retired government officer. Turned out that he was a doctor living in UK for the last 30 years and was on a vacation like me. Such Humility!

No fuss. No show of annoyance. Just an understanding that the waiter wasn’t educated. He was simply trying to do an honest job. I felt so good.

As I was alighting at Gwalior, he shook hands and with a twinkle remarked , “ Sorry to keep you hungry, Young Man!”

He was a wise old man. It was my turn to think of that ubiquitous Burkha!

I can say it with conviction that the first type of incident can happen once in ten times. The second one can happen all the time.

The NRIs are Indians too and their heart too beats for their country. Don’t treat them as pariah just because they live far away. They are no different.

As someone from India once succinctly wrote to me:
“ Dooriyon ka matlab fasle nahi hua karte.”

Distances cannot pave way for differences.


  1. Interesting post but not all NRIS are of bad image!!!

  2. Thanks Angel. Thats why i have given both the sides.

  3. Dude, I admire you, respect you, adore you and salute you for your whole blog and this post, I always felt that you should be heard a lot more. In my talks with 'Satish T' I always wondered when will you start writing for bigger audience or how can we introduce your talent to higher levels ?...keep up the great work dear.

  4. Kash, Thanks very much for those kind words. I feel very humble. Its readers like you who make the writing worthwhile. Thank you.

  5. good one....!! I feel the same...!
    They are Indians at heart!
    although a few are not...they think that this country is so damn horrible....but I think they need time to know there INDIA.
    If you have read Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam speech in Hyderabad you will know whats India and what are Indians.
    This blog is too good....shows the feeling of NRIs for their motherland...!

  6. Thanks Rishi. grateful for your comments.

  7. Wow very interesting..i liked your orange fruit funda a lot....