Every culture, every race, every lineage, every ethnic group has some quirks that irk the outsiders.Here are some of the desi traits about the people from India that foreigners find annoying or not-so-pleasant:
1. Self-isolation and slow to adapt: Indians are known for their reserve nature. They don’t mingle well unless you are part of their social circle; and the social circle is mostly Indian friends. Sometimes this behavior is mistaken for aloofness and showing general disdain, and others may find it annoying. Socializing is a skill that Indians need to acquire more and improve.
2. Parental overshadow (momma’s boy syndrome): Many westerns (Western meaning Americans and Europeans, not cowboys and cowgirls) avoid dating Indians because most of them don’t move out of their parents houses even after the college is done. And, parents try their best to hold on to their kids and ‘baby’ them even when the ‘kids’ are in their 20s or beyond. Annoying? – probably not, but lack of independent living? – yes.
3. Big houses and cheap clothes: The Indians love the concept of mortgage – saving every penny for down-payment and then spending everything on a big house, bigger than their cousins’ or brothers’ houses nearby. And in the process, if you have to penny pinch from everywhere else – that’s okay.
4. Body odor and dental hygiene: Some Indians (and then the perception becomes for all the Indians) do have the problem of body odor, bad smell from the mouth and the dental hygiene. This problem is not-so-common among the younger generation, but a perception is there.
5. Staring without smile: Yes, have heard this many times where an Indian guy just stares at the girl(s)/ladies passing by without any smile. Maybe a culture thing from back home in India? A very annoying habit nonetheless.
6. Indian accent: Well, not your fault; everyone have their own accent, their own way of speaking. Indian accent, even though not as bad as some of the other foreign accents, still stands out and creates the language barrier. A lot has been written in this blog about ‘how to lose your accent’…maybe worth a try!
7.Smell of cooking all over the house and the backyard: Indian cooking is known for flavorful herbs and spices with unique smell. Unless you are accustomed to it, the smell can be unpleasant and irritating to non-Indians. And, in some cases, the dress and the clothing carry the smell outside the house – umm yummy… or not!
8. Frugal: Yes, need no explanation. This one applies to the new immigrants and the first generation of Indians the most. The second generation (those born and raised abroad) and beyond don’t seem to be stingy by habit.
9. Conversing in Hindi or mother tongue while in English company: Indians have this habit where they switch over to their mother tongue while talking to other desi friends or colleagues. Nothing wrong with that if you are in your own desi circle. However, in the company of other English or foreign colleagues, it is just rude to speak in Hindi to each-other while others are feeling awkward for being excluded from the conversation.
10. Lousy tippers: It is true that Indians are perceived to be bad tippers to the waiters and other service providers. This may stem from the habit of being frugal. Make sure to include a tip in your budget…it is a common expectation.
11. Bragging about India and Indian culture: The good Indian values vs. the bad of the western culture! Many Indians will go to all kind of lengths to explain or show that Indians are superior. Every race thinks highly of itself, Indians are not behind in expressing this, may be a few steps ahead.
12. Head Wobble: For those who are not familiar with the gesture, the head wobbling is a motion that is somewhere in between the up-and-down nod, and the sideways head shaking. So, it is somewhat rotational motion of the head – a light head shake combined with a head roll. Not everybody understand this gesture and it leaves the other person guessing. Try to stick to the simple up-and-down nod instead.
13. Don’t take the criticism well : Now that all these annoying habits are outlined above, let us see how well you take this criticism! Feel free to disagree and share your feelings! By end of the day, these are just the perceptions and you have the power to change them.
- Indian head wobble – the desi nod
- A self-help guide to lose your accent!
- Why white women find desi or Indian guys less attractive?
- NRIs and India diaspora – the key challenges abroad!
- Cross-culture understanding – It is a culture thing
- Overseas perceptions about people from India
- How to change a perception
- I am not racist, but my brain may be!
- Common overseas myths and misconceptions about people from India