By Taraka Anil Sabbineni
DISCLAIMER: I know a huge campaign that’s floating around with all the news and stories about people moving back to India due to bad economy overseas or job cuts or pay cuts or what ever. I DO NOT AGREE with that. My facts do not agree with that. That is just one over-hyped bull shit I have ever heard in my life. India is not as shiny as it seems to be. My suggestion? Please DO NOT move back to India. You will repent your decision for the rest of your life. All Indians currently residing in North America or Europe, stay!
I entered USA as a student and later after going through different stages and levels of visas, I came so close to getting a green card (as an immediate relative of a US citizen). I lived in the USA for nearly 7 years and had a nice quality life before I decided to return back. But, I am not one of those who are easily falling for this India growth story. What these company executives, shown in presentations and the reality once you reach India is 180 degrees apart. India should get its act together and provide an ethical, corruption-free environment for businesses to thrive. At the same time improve their college education to produce engineering graduates who have passion and creative mind for technology not just another body from some goofed university. Almost 2 years in a product design role I am optimistic that companies would be forced to bring technology jobs back to the US or native locations if they wish to survive and grow in long-term. In some companies, it is starting to happen as it is very difficult to hire quality technical people in India. The people who return back to India after having lived in the USA for few years at least 90% of those return or try to return back to the USA as the quality of life in America is a century ahead of India.
After having stayed in the US for nearly 7 years, I recently decided to shift base back to India. FOREVER.
So … Why am I moving ?
I frankly have no clear idea. Because, The minute I graduated, my parents started galling me (and ate my brains out, while I am alive) to come back to India. Yeah, parents in India exercise a kind of weird control over their kids emotions. I never understood why the heck they want me do that because they usually never want me do anything that I do not want to do, … long story short … but finally now, I gave up. Now that I ‘ve made the decision and now I am like “ What the heck, let’s do it “. (do not attempt to do it at home) .
Are they missing me ? Oh ! Come on, its been 7 years and they can always come and live with me, here.
Is there a huge family business/obligations that needs someone to look after ?? Nope, my dad is an employee, with assets that can easily be liquidated. (Also, I am against family run businesses)
I just did not understand. But, as I said I just gave up ! But, I am particularly thinking (worried) about all those stupid people who thinks ‘any Indian who came back for good must be the one who cannot find/keep a job overseas.’
Where are you going ?
Bengaluru. They say it is the silicon valley of India, which again is bullshit. Yes, it is silicon valley of India only if the real Silicon Valley in California is all about a bunch of cheap labour outsourcing, software companies. The Silicon Valley is about people and their ideas, innovation, the environment that nourishes the ideas. It is not just a name. If you remove all of that from the silicon valley and throw in a bunch of egoistic bitchy bossy bosses and the worst maniacs of all venture capitalists, and most unprofessional cheap-ass software engineers who smell ‘desi’ in their attitude, what you get is the shittiest silicon valley knock off on earth.
A place where I can not shop in the middle of the night (Think 24 x 7 Meijer), where nosy people live, where even Subway sells stale products (Eat Fresh !), where objectivity is nowhere to be found, yucks ! (yeah, yeah, you are gonna say, “Aren’t you born in India ? Don’t just be an ass**** !” . What Ever dude !)
Do What ?
First of all, I am going to stink. And then bitch about being home. (Yeah, I am an ass-****). And then whine about missing a better ‘life’. Somehow this whole news was leaked before I announce it officially (Its official with this blog post) and a while ago I got a call from one of the investors at a Bangalore-based start-up, whom I knew personally. He formally introduced me to the founders and other investors. Actually, I really am surprised by the level of enthusiasm and goals they have. Then, it occurred to me, moving back is not so depressing after all. So, I would be joining them focusing on their Mobile Enterprise Solutions Platform. I also will be learning professional photography from Arvind Bhatt/AK Nathan. And Of Course, as always, I will be travelling around the world restarting with ********* (Hint: Sunburnt Country)”, this summer.
So, When ?
I gave my 15-day notice but my employer told me that I probably am going to stay for 15 more days later on. Then I am going to do a vacation and then that will be it ! So It is going to be about 45 days from today ! Yes, there is going to be a garage sale ! A really huge one ! Contact me !
So, Finally …
Now, you might be thinking, Anil is the biggest stereo-typed dick I ‘ve ever seen. Why is he fucking whining so much ? Yep ! Probably. Though I didn’t live my whole life in Detroit and here in San Francisco, I spent most of my best years there. People always said that School years and Single years would be some of the most fun years of life, and my school years here truly did not disappoint. (Of Course, the other half of them are in India and I loved them as much). I loved those early mornings when I’d go to Starbucks and pick up a grande vanilla latte, and sometimes that delicious 20-grams-of-fat brownie, and head over to school or all those parties in Detroit. (Yep, Detroit is where I spent most of my fun years)
So, I am gonna miss all the amazing people I met here and all that I can learn while I am here. I think, in India, one can enjoy is just quasi-freedom, the one everyone else approved that others to have ! Sucks ! I just do not know anyone back there anymore !
The attitudes like ‘chalta hai’ and ‘bossism’ in India is one commonality and I have to realize this, so that I truly can come to peace with living in India. One of my mom’s friends once told me “to survive in India you need two things: patience and a good sense of humor.” So, when I think of India as a vibrant place and that India too has so much to offer because it’s modernizing in many ways, it is not that depressing after all !
Now, if anyone of you still make that decision and decide to move back, I am adding some tips along with a precautionary one line advice “ THINK AGAIN “. Now that you have re-thought again and made your decision, Read on. Some tips might help you. Good Luck on your future endeavors.
One important thing that you must understand very well: How much you get paid ? When it comes to compensation, people moving back have inflated expectations. Do not go by hearsay; a friend or friend’s friend who returned to India has told you a tall story about Indian salaries. Do not go by that yardstick. USD will not convert to INR. The first thing to remember is that you will not make the rupee equivalent of your US salary in India. The cost of living in India is significantly lower than that in the US. This also means a lower labor cost in India. And pay in India does not usually reflect cost of living. You make less than you should (Big Mac Index).Now according to the last available index dated July 2011, a Big Mac costing USD 4.07 in the US costs USD 1.89 in dollar terms in India (Rs 85 converted at an exchange rate of Rs 45). It means that the Big Mac costs 54% less in India; the cost of living is 54% lower in India. Read another way, this means that the rupee is undervalued by 54% to the dollar and that on the basis of PPP, one dollar would actually be worth Rs 21 instead of Rs 45. So if you are drawing a salary of USD 100,000 in the US, you can expect to draw Rs 21 lakh in India, give or take. At an exchange rate of Rs 45, that would translate to an Indian salary of USD 46,666 or 46% of the US salary.
Jot down YOUR pro’s and con’s. I am listing a few that crossed my mind here.
Pros of moving to India:
Can be great career move and an opportunity to try new things at a lower cost – India is just a different ball game and even I am hyper excited about start-ups and the market here.
Certain luxuries are very affordable – personal trainer daily, photography workshops, getting a home theater setup.
Travel more in and around India – amazing places are 2-3 hr flight away – Sri Lanka to Dubai to Macau and rest of Asia.
Cons of moving to India from US: I will make this short
India is expensive if you want to live like an American. On the other hand money can get most things done for you easily.
Lousy Vacations. Creepy, nosy People.
Lack of parks, good hiking trails and things for kids to do on weekends.
Attention to detail and reliability is missing in work and people here.
Pollution (not so bad in Bangalore), noise, traffic and general dirtiness.
Bureaucracy – knowing people who know people. US is more straightforward in how we deal with people and things.
- Being nice is not the way to go and is generally underrated – you need to toughen up or else people will take advantage of you, you will not get things done.
- Easy availability of everything is missing – HDMI cable to cookie dough to latest iPhone. You can get a lot in India these days but still it is nothing like walking into Frys or Costco or Trader Joes in the US. Same goes for internet reliability and bandwidth – so if you are someone who thrives on being on the cutting edge of tech. it can be issue at times.
Reproduced from Anilyzed (Published on March 25, 2012)
- Student Life is Difficult, I’m Returning to India (happyschoolsblog.com)
- Why It is Not Right to call Bangalore or any other Asian City as Silicon Valley and its comparison with Silicon Valley of World (currentindiaaffairs.wordpress.com)
- Innovation in Silicon Valley is not dead (rachelbythebay.com)
- Better to be a Lion… (tvaraj.wordpress.com)