“Oh, Those Desis!” Why Do Indians Abroad Despise Their Countrymen?


“Oh, Those Desis!” Why Do Indians Abroad Despise Their Countrymen?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


wo months ago, a 36-year-old tailor was arrested for a hoax bomb scare at the Delhi passport office after his application for a new passport was declined thrice. As it turned out, he already possessed a valid passport but it was confiscated by his father when he was deported from Australia for having overstayed on a visitor’s visa a few years ago. I couldn’t help but feel a slight sympathy for the man – after all, all he wanted was to get away from India. Just like half the country’s population.

If it were up to us, we would rate living among Indians, the most frustrating and overwhelming man-made disaster to ever befall us. None of us like the corruption, pollution, overpopulation, dirty politics, and the near anarchy that this country is hurtling toward. We’ve grown up marvelling at the Western model of cleanliness and greatness, but never think about recreating it in our backyards. Indians keep all the knowledge that can help improve their country in a place so safe that even they can’t find it. As a result, neither are our roads any cleaner, nor are our politicians. We choose to revel instead in the glorious feeling of “yahaan sab chalta hai,” convincing ourselves that the only way out is to leave.