I was going through some topics on Quora and I came across this question which somebody had posted and there were hundreds of NRIs who flocked to that topic to give their two cents about this issue. Most of the answers that they wrote were absolutely generic and something you will hear from every Ram, Shaam and Rahul on the planet:
- Great Work-life balance
- Reliable Healthcare
- Good Quality of Life
Although these three points are absolutely correct to be mentioned when anybody wants to explain their motivation to move to a different country, it doesn’t tell half the story of how exactly it is to live away from India. This post isn’t going to have a shred of remorse about moving to a different country or some whiny lines which some other Indians tell you about how much they miss their home, it’s not going to be about it at all but a rather pure and untouched account of what exactly is the difference between living in India and living in Germany and why I wouldn’t choose to go back at all unless there is another Nazi-era heading towards Germany. Even then, I would rather move to some other country than going back to India, and don’t get me wrong! I absolutely love my people and I love my country’s food but there are some things, very deep-rooted in the country, that I can never look past over.
Many students might come to Germany just to study. That wasn’t my plan at all. Studying was a by-product of the goal of a 15-year old me to somehow come to Germany and start my new life here with unlimited opportunities and no boundaries of self-development. It was the time when everybody was preparing for the JEE. I honestly never saw anybody else doing something different, just because that was the only thing that everybody knew of doing after they are done with their schools. Even today things haven’t really changed. Hordes of students going to coaching institutions and hordes of them coming out with their head held in utter disbelief of what the hell did the teacher just taught them. A few of those students enjoyed being there, but those were just the 5% of the entire student demographics who would rather study than invest in their own hobby. The other 95% of us had no choice, but to just follow the cutthroat education culture that had been established by the scarcity of jobs in the Indian skilled job sector.
The Game of Equal Outcomes:
When the counselling for the B.Tech. courses starts, you get to know about the real effects of the Quota system. You might have gotten a good university at your rank, but because 49.5% of the seats are reserved and even in the other 50.5% seats, people from the reserved category are allowed to enter, making it an absolutely unfair game, where instead of “equal opportunities”, “equal outcomes” were deserved. It wasn’t about giving different sections of people the same exact tools to perform in a fight, but it was about deciding the winner already, no matter who wins the fight. Now, people taunt that why do you even mention about this at your rank, you should have rather studied harder and those are the people who don’t know jack shit about studying and can afford internet, smartphones, house and a car and still cry about being oppressed or being discriminated. This mewling has always been the most pitiful and the most hypocritical thing of our Indian society, which we only bolster by electing people who have no agenda but one, to divide people, make minorities, give those minorities more power and just don’t care about the majority. Forget about the real issues of public sector exams getting cancelled, Government actively cutting down themselves on the jobs and having literally negligible regulations even in the organised private sector for jobs. Job security is something which is non-existent in the private job sector in India these days and then the people from the reserved category, tell you that 99% of the jobs in India are in private sector, then why are you crying about having reservation in the other 1%.
As I grew through the phase of my college, students would bluntly confess that the reason they want to work in the public sector is not because they want to make things better: it’s because they want to earn money under the table, be respected by the people and have influence in the government machinery, none of which would make the country a tad bit better than when they were born and all of the tax subsidies used in funding their education would go in wain again. Those subsidies will be misused anyway, even if you go abroad or you stay in India and go into the public sector. In the former one, you are literally not taking away anything from the country once you’re abroad and in the second one, you are looting money from the people of your own country which will always remain unaccounted for.
What is wrong?
Our professors aren’t motivated to teach, the cleaners aren’t motivated to clean, the drivers aren’t motivated to drive, the peons aren’t motivated to do administrative work, the Vice-Chancellor isn’t motivated to hear the problems of the students and the Registrar would make you sit in the waiting room for hours before ever giving a hear to your problems, just to brush them off afterwards. To me, this doesn’t sound like the story of a country which is going to be a superpower and would be taken seriously by the other nations. This immense feeling of not being able to do what you love or not being able to love something that you do sprouts this culture, where nobody takes their job seriously and the overall soft value that is generated through different processes in the country, turns out to be nowhere close to a country, where people have the chances and do the jobs that they like. Imagine a country to be a company. Do you plan on getting great results or productivity in a company, if the employees hate their jobs or are doing the jobs for the wrong reasons? Absolutely not.
The bureaucratic dramas in every public office in India just make things worse. Any time you have to get something done, create 3 different copies, submit to 3 different people, get signatures from them and then, you can focus on the real task at hand.
Don’t get me started on the police, the court and the public hospitals. I think every single one of us knows the story about them. You are living in paradise in India as long as you don’t have to deal with any of these 3 public entities, but if you ever do, you would just end up thinking to yourself, aren’t these people supposed to help me? Isn’t that their job? People in court will ask for a bribe, in the hospital will ask for a bribe and in the police will ask for a bribe and your thing will get done, only if you know somebody in the government machinery who can call them and tell them to do their own job.
I remember once my phone was stolen and I went to the police to put an FIR and to ask them to start tracking my phone, but they said, they can track the phone only when it has been a part of a “heinous crime” whatever that means. We ended up wasting 5 hours going back and forth between the internet Cafe to file the complaint online and to the police station to make the changes that they would ask us to do. In the end, we just stopped and didn’t pursue it further. If you need help and you see a policeman standing and you go and talk to them (and that person isn’t a fresh recruit), you would just experience the disrespectful tone that they talk in. I can’t even confirm if the motive of the police in India is to help people or to just harass them. Here in Germany, if I need to find a place, need to ask about something, I have so many times just asked a police officer, who are more than happy to help you in any way that they can.
The same is true with other public authorities. They don’t assume already that you are a criminal and everything that you are saying is a lie like the personnel in our Indian authorities do. You are a real person to them German authorities with real rights and everything you say would be considered as the truth unless proven otherwise. Even when you have some special requests or your case is too complicated, they will still try their best to solve it, just because they love their jobs! They had options at the time when they were supposed to choose a career, they smelled the essence of all of the different choices they had and they chose the profession which they are in right now. It isn’t the same in India. Lesser choices, frustrated people and a government which can’t care less about the real problems.
About Moving Back to India:
Whenever I think about moving back to India, I just can’t imagine it. At all. Like no part of my brain daydreams about living there and no part of my brain can actively draw the picture of being there. It’s just always an absolute blank. I’ve had enough of the people in the past 20 years of my life. A lot of the times the stress which was generated by undertaking even the simplest tasks like filling out the electricity bill, getting a Letter of Recommendation or just even a NOC, when I wanted to present my research paper in Germany, didn’t need to occur at all, but the inefficiencies of the system make it absolutely unavoidable and something you just have to pass through to arrive at the destination at which you could have come without going through all of this drama.
The ability to be what you want to be is the reason I love living in the western world. Even though, I have explained it more in my book: Moving Abroad, but here’s a part of the reason for it: You don’t have to worry about your relatives questioning your life decisions, neighbours gossiping about your upbringing behind your parents’ backs or your father’s or mother’s friends’ giving their opinions about how you can do the thing that you initiated even better, even when they don’t have any idea about it! You can just be what you want to be. You want to buy a nice camera, start an Instagram profile and start taking beautiful photographs? Do that! You want to start your own YouTube channel? Do that! You want to start your own business? Do that! You want to take a round trip around Europe? Do that! You want to go around and explore the nature with a bicycle without the fear of trucks and cars running you over? Do that! You want to chill out in the park and not get disturbed by people? Do that! You want to have a dog, a house, your own business, a car and a wife whom you didn’t marry through an arranged marriage and didn’t spend lacs of rupees on a wedding celebration just to hear how shit the food was? Do that! Absolutely do that!
That’s my end game and that’s where I and Alina are heading towards. We just want to be ourselves and are so happy and grateful for having this opportunity to live in a country where we don’t have to worry about people burdening us with their miserable opinions of our conscious decisions.
I have my chances and I have the opportunities in Germany and I am working hard to reach the goal that I set for myself and even when I can’t promise you that you will have the most beautiful life on the planet here, I can promise you one thing: even if you aren’t feeling like you can do much in India and you are dragged down by unnecessary rules and people, you wouldn’t feel even a shred of that powerlessness in Germany because there are opportunities and there are opportunities for every single body who wants to work hard for them. Nobody has the task to put stones in your success here, not the People, not the Government and not the Public Authorities.