Indian values or right values?

Learning the mother tongue…
The Sunday classes in the temple or Gurudwara…
Attending religious recitals even if you don’t understand what the priest is saying….

Growing-up abroad is a challenge in itself, not that we realize it when we are kids. Being a minority has its own offshoot effects that you cannot control.You cannot change your skin tone, unless you are Michael Jackson – not so easy, and you are still the same person inside! 🙂

Being an Indian overseas comes with its own demands. You not only have to worry about the the bigots and the racist idiots on the street, but your parents and elders are paranoid to the point of obsession; the obsession with raising the kids with ‘Indian values’.

Growing up in India – you are amongst your own kind; you are immersed in your own culture. As a child in India, the social values are spoon-fed over the years; you are surrounded by your own kind; you are the majority. No confusion, no duplicity.

Living abroad however, our culture at home is often different than the culture on the street. We are dealing with a multicultural society. Our social settings are totally different and multidimensional. As a kid growing up, we adapt to the surroundings, to the society we grow-up in.

Growing up in American or any other Western society, the Indian American families tend to hold on to the inherited culture and Indian social values much more closely. The parents cling to the carried-over traditions from India, holding on to the Indian roots very dearly. The Indian families make a very conscious effort to instill the Indian values into their kids. Continue reading “Indian values or right values?”


No matter where we live, there are always things to complain about; plenty of people to blame. It is human nature. Different culture, different place, and different values – yes, things are different when you live abroad, different from back home.

No matter where we live, Indians are good at adjusting and adapting, and ultimately competing toe-to-toe in every aspect of life, in every corner of the world. The same applies to those settled in USA.

Success is a part of Indian culture. We strive to accomplish high goals; we fight to prove ourselves. It is in our blood.  Just look within US boundaries: two reigning governors in the highest state offices, countless Indians in NASA and other prestigious research facilities all over. The same is true for a large portion of highly skilled occupations – doctors, scientists, engineers…. the Indians are everywhere in America, in every walk of life.

There are plenty of things to complain about. But, there are plenty of reasons to be proud of, if we look around!

Indian American population in America is a growing and prosperous section of US society. If you get the chance to walk through the corridors of any leading US corporation – banks, medical offices, engineering firms….., you will notice that Indian Americans hold every level of positions including officer and executive jobs. Indians are contributing to the US socio-economic dynamics from every aspect. The numbers and ratios of Indians employed by the leading companies – the like of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Citibank…. continue to grow. Continue reading “Pride”

Desi fundas 101: Education – a fundamental driver of Indian success abroad

The big red letters on the front of our school used to read, in two languages:
In Punjabi: “Vidhya insaan di teesari akh hai!”
In Hindi: “Vidhya insaan ki teesari aankh hai!”

Meaning: Education (or knowledge) is the 3rd eye for a person.

Growing up, we all knew that some of the rules should not and could not be questioned; rules like:

  • Respect your books. Stepping on a book, even by mistake is a sin. A book never belongs under your feet.
  • Education is your priority number one.
  • Respect your teachers….

Continue reading “Desi fundas 101: Education – a fundamental driver of Indian success abroad”

Slow down genius, it’s just a journey!

Dedicated to all the workaholics, high-achievers and fast paced lifestyle individuals of today

Yes, you have done a lot; accomplished so many goals, conquered many peaks. With you, it is all about achievements, it is all about the end-results, it is all about marching to the top. The success is ‘a must’ to stroke your ego; basking in the glory of victories has become a habit of yours.

Yes, you are scared of failures, just like a fox scared of its own shadow. You may have seen some thrilling ups and scary downs, but up is all you desire. Everything has to be your way. You are scared of uncertainties – the unwanted side-effected of your grand endeavors.

You have survived a lot around you, you probably have seen more than you can process. The fear of failures and the greed of success keep you going nonstop – day and night.

Yes, you have accomplished a lot; but, what for? Continue reading “Slow down genius, it’s just a journey!”

Brain Drain to Brain Gain – Indians Abroad

The NRIs and Indians Abroad are a valuable asset for building India!

The ‘Brain drain’ is common among developing countries, India is no exception. Young, ambitious and educated class of society leaving homeland and heading abroad, searching for a better future, a better tomorrow.

For decades, the woes of brain drain from India to the developed countries have been blamed on many problems at home, including education system and the job opportunities. Patriotism and loyalty to the mother-land is often quoted as the lacking character among the youths settled abroad, who turn their back on the country that raised them, provided for them and educated them.

In spite of all this so called ‘brain drain’ for so long, however, there is no shortage of brain in India. The country is emerging as a fast developing nation, with GDP growth rate that western countries can only imagine….and admire from a distance. Actually there has to be some extra ‘brain power’ in India that is leading a populous country with more than a billion heads on a path of inventions, modernization and prosperity.

Every good thing must comes to and end, or slow down.  With recession and high unemployment in America – and rest of the developed world – many Indians living overseas are considering going back home. Some of the key incentives to stay abroad – job security and financial opportunities – have faded over the years. Thousands of NRIs – frustrated with the grim job outlook, – have packed up their American luggage and headed home for good. Many more are expected to follow the suit.

The NRIs all over the world are very aware of the prosperity and bright prospects of India. Some daydream of returning home in the near future; others are finding a way to collaborate with homeland on new opportunities. Continue reading “Brain Drain to Brain Gain – Indians Abroad”

How to break a bad habit!

Tips: Self help on how to break a habit or change an addictive routine

For those who are working on accent improvement, or struggling with Internet addiction, or trying to quit any other old habit  that is affecting the quality of work and life…..:

A habit is a behavior that we regularly repeat, often without thinking much about it. Over time, our brain gets used to the routine, repeating it unconsciously. Smoking, playing video games, watching TV, net surfing – excessive use of any of these can become a habit or addiction. Once a habit is developed, it becomes a part of our daily life, it is hard to get away from it.
To break a habit or to minimize an addictive behavior is not easy. It is not something we can do overnight. While we can start the process of breaking a habit anytime we like, the harder part is to keep it that way for good – to break the routine permanently.
Here are the basic considerations to break a habit:
Willpower: The very first requirement is willpower, the desire to give-up something that is negatively affecting the quality of life or work. Without willpower and determination, one cannot overcome a habit permanently.
Be sincere- to yourself: Most of the problems get solved if we can put in a sincere effort to fix them. Be sincere and honest to yourself. After all, you are not trying to change other people’s perception about you; you are trying to change yourself, the behavior itself. Continue reading “How to break a bad habit!”

Stretch your goals…land somewhere!

“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” ~Yogi Berra

Consciously or unconsciously, we are setting new goals everyday. We always have a wishlists, targets, milestones and things to accomplish.
Some of the goals are simple and straightforward:

  • Lose weight: lose those few extra pounds from last winter
  • Quit smoking: Give up smoking in next 6 months
  • Finish MBA studies in next 2 years….

Then, there are other goals that look easy on the surface:

  • Drink less coffee
  • Play with kids more often
  • Spend more time with family
  • Sing only in the shower…..

These goals are equally, or may be more important. Many times, some of the better goals are left vague, not fully defined. These goals are easy to miss, because they are easy to justify, in case we fail to meet them.

But, there are some goals which we don’t set often enough, or don’t consider them seriously. Continue reading “Stretch your goals…land somewhere!”

30 Tips on the art of small talk!

Communications Tips (NRI and ESL Tips): Small Talk – how to carry-on a conversation effectively.

“Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.” ~ Oscar Wilde

I have written before on the importance of small talk . Small talk is a conversation, chit-chat or an informal discussion without any specific topic or subject. Small talk generally is not a problem if we are among our family and friends; there is always something to talk about. However, once we step into a wider social circle, it may become challenging at times to keep the conversation going or even start a conversation. Here are some of the tips on how to avoid uncomfortable situations, and carry on a small talk in all types of social settings:

1. Be a good listener: Pay attention and listen to what others are talking about. Good listening provides additional understanding about the people we are communicating with.

2. Introduce yourself if needed: Introduce yourself first, especially if you are in a new to the gathering, party or event.

3. Take queue from other’s conversation: This helps with the continuity of the discussion.

4. Ask questions…small ones: Questions or clarifications are important to understand the others involved in the conversation. The questions could be about the discussion going on, or general questions to ‘get-to-know’ the company. Continue reading “30 Tips on the art of small talk!”

10 most common business ideas abroad!

NRI Tips: Common Businesses to start overseas!

There are many ways to make a good living abroad, owning your own business is one of them.  A business operation and ownership is not for everybody, you have to have an aptitude for ventures, willingness to take risks and understanding of different aspects of operating a business. Depending on your ambitions and circumstances, it may become an around-the-clock effort that comes with equally big rewards and big downsides. Along with the day-dreams of prosperity to follow, you and your stakeholders – family, partners, and investors – should also understand the possibility of losing your shirt.
For those, who have done their homework and understand the pros and cons of opening a business, here are some of the most common ones to consider:
1. Indian Grocery store: In the USA, Canada, England and other courtiers with Indian diaspora, there is quite a bit demand for Indian supplies and common grocery items used in Indian cooking. This kind of business is ideal for the area with high concentration of Indian population. Continue reading “10 most common business ideas abroad!”

Live your life like a kids’ lemonade stand!

Personal lessons & self-improvement tips from kids’ lemonade stand:

You most likely have driven by many lemonade stands in your neighborhood, where young kids are selling lemonade on a roadside or from a street corner. But, have you been to one of them lately? If not, you should. You can learn a lot from them, we all can. Here are some of the life lessons to take home from a kids’ lemonade stand:

Kifds' Lemonade Stand
Kifds’ Lemonade Stand

1. Keep it simple: One table, one or two chairs, disposable glasses, a container for money and lemonade supplies- that’s the most of it. That is all they need to meet their objective. Still, it looks so complete, as if nothing is missing. Everything that is required is right there.
2. Welcome with a smile: The young kids always have an enthusiasm about their endeavors, always welcome you with a smile. The minute you walk in (or drive in), you feel at home. 🙂
3. Entertaining and interesting: It is never boring at the lemonade stands. While you enjoy your lemonade, kids are busy with something ‘cool’, something refreshing. They may be telling some funny story, singing carelessly, running after each other, reacting to the tip they just received, performing some cheers/ dance-routines, juggling lemons or doing something else to attract the customers. Continue reading “Live your life like a kids’ lemonade stand!”

NRI Tips: Key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment!

NRI Tips:  The habits that hinder our adaptation abroad

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~ Maria Robinson

Migration from India to a foreign land is often considered a grueling process, probably one of the hardest thing ever for a new NRI; right?
Not really, it is just the start :). Once we get to our new destination abroad, -USA or Canada or England…- the things are not as we imagined. As mentioned before in NRIs and India diaspora – the key challenges abroad!’, the most difficult part is adjusting to the new society, the new culture; and then building a career that matches our professional background and education.
Why is it that so many of Indians find it so hard to adjust abroad? Even after years, we feel strangers in the land that is dubbed a ‘melting pot’ of multi-culture society.

One of the key reasons for our failure to adjust, even after years, is the isolation from the American society and western culture; our inability to adapt to the local language and norms. Many of us find it hard to carry on a real conversation with locals; the conversation that involves local slang and local style.
Here are some of the main reasons that hinder a desi immigrant from being a ‘Roman while in Rome’; the key habits that won’t let us adapt to overseas’  life:

1. Self isolation:This is a natural tendency of early days in foreign land that becomes a habit, a habit of hiding from everybody and everything that is not India; living in an Indian bubble. If our social circle and desi passé speak no English,- not the kind they speak on the street anyways- there is very little hope for a quick adaptation to the new place. Continue reading “NRI Tips: Key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment!”