Monday, October 15, 2007

Meet the American Indians

I really really hope that the words “American Indian” is considered as a racist term, and I wanna call a lot of desi babus here by that name.

It’s funny to meet the breed out here – Most guys from the land of Gult (50%) and the rest are Mallus, Tams and North Indians.

You need to answer the following 3 questions, or have a placard, that you can handover to all “American Indians”
1. What Visa are you on
2. How long in the US
3. What’s your Salary

The answers to these questions decide how you will be treated, and how long you will be spoken to, and how many times you can probably call!

Visa / Length of Stay –
Essentially, if you are on a short stay, you will be kept at bay – everyone lives with this morbid fear that, you will cling on to them, and suck their blood out, and ask for favours! Even responses about locale are guarded – The stranger on the street, is much more responsive!

Once they know you are not on a H1 / L1 – every alternate guy offers deals on how to get a H1.

The following are some of them.

1. I know an agent – He will get you a H1 – The yearly commission ranges between 10%-35% of Annual Salary
2. Want a green card – (phew this is what surprised me the most) – Get married to a Resident (American Indian) – Cost - $ 10,000 - Contract Marriage, both parties will not touch each other – Get the Green Card and file for Divorce!!!!

$ Rules
There is an infinite obsession with how much money you can make, and everyone is on a one point agenda of making more money, saving more. The average Indian out here is in the top 5 percentile of US earnings (an American family makes half as much as an average underpaid Indian in IT), but with a catch – ‘American Indians’ live like beggars – This is what a cabby had to say (btw most cabby’s are Punjabi’s and live much better than ‘American Indians’). Most Americans hate ‘American Indians’ cos they stink! – The cabby says, yeh sale log tho deo karidne ke liye bhi hazar bar soch the hain. Itney paise bacha ke, kya kar re ga. Theen Char saal ke baad be, har ek cheese ka price ko Rupees mein convert kar ke spend karthe hain!!” Upne India ka naam barbad karthe hain.

So there you go! – If they know you earn a lot more than them- you are stay away material (material of contempt) and will immediately get a comparative chart of all pay packs across the top 10 Indian employers in the US.

If they know you earn a lot less –you are looked down as a loser, and again stay away material, with the fear that you might ask them for money!!!

If you earn as much as they do, well, they wanna hang out with ppl who are better off than them !!!

But then, there are those couple of people who are still the nice good ones – who still have a stable head – Some have become completely American, some take pride in being an Indian – but they interact and connect with you, as a human, and not because based on Visa / $ status. A couple of them to call once a while is all that you need to get a head start in this place.

What stands in contrast to ‘American Indians’ is the Chinese / Japanese / Korean communities – Need to learn a lot from them.

P.S: A couple of my settled Indian friends (the nice ones) have taken it on them to get me married – some girl – Tall, slim, and beautiful – Masters, Christian etc……….

Single, available and in the US

Well, like I stated it many times – You can do well in India (both numerically and otherwise), and it does not always mean that only the best go to the land of infinite promises, but a few choose to stay back too.

Here I am, in usa-puram (like I called it all along) and much to the disappointment of many people back home, I am not the excited jack, pumping excitement.

Touch down at Newark – the first thought that crosses my mind – Hey John, you are in the US – Single, available and not sleepy. The single part is important, and has a small history to it.

Rewind to the winter of 2000 – Young (ya really young), the flamboyant yuppie of a PM, chosen against all odds to head to the US, to be the guy to manage the new line of business, the company had bet its money on.

Standing in the simmering heat of Chennai, outside the American Consulate, even before I entered the fortified building, a strange thought crossed my head – You will not go to the US till you are married. Really strange, I thought.

45 Minutes later, I am heading out of the consulate, with a “potential immigrant” stamp on my passport, for the consulate officer saw no reason why I would come back to India, after asking 3 ‘important ‘ questions. Age, Pay and the Title of the job. And many a times, somehow many trips got planned- I backed out on some and logistics backed out on some! So, somewhere I thought, hmm, maybe that feeling was right.

Now, settled in, joined a gym, renting cars, driving 300 miles for fun, got in touch with some real old friends (after 7 years!!), and lots more.

I hope that I will blog every day from now ,and some video and picture blogs are underway