Indian life in USA

I love Quora, I suppose it is one of the better social networks out there and I have got lot of knowledge from it. So, I am pretty active there. Recently, someone asked me to answer a question – ‘What is an Indian’s life like, after they get a job in the US after an MS in the US?

I was amused. This is what I answered-

This is what its like after getting a cushy job in USA-

  1. Rent a decent apartment, buy new clothes, laptop, SLR and all gadgets you want to show off with.
  2. Get a car if you are not in NYC.

On weekdays-

  1. Get up early for work, talk to your Mom while commuting in a public transport.
  2. Have lunch at your desk or sometimes in cafeteria, finish by 6-7pm earliest.
  3. Come home, cook with your roommates/spouse or go out for a cheap dinner if you are not cooking type.
  4. Watch some sitcom or surf/facebook.
  5. Call India and talk to your family.
  6. Sleep by 11pm.

On weekends-

  1. Drive to a nearby beach/mountain/park or any picturesque place. Take lot of pictures, share on facebook.
  2. Do hour long skype calls with your family.
  3. Go out for dinner at fancy places esp with non-Indian cuisines and click lot of pictures (closeup of food items), share on facebook.
  4. Once in a while, go to factory outlets for branded shopping.
  5. Slowly, start hiking/trekking/swimming/diving/jumping/flying/cycling or whatever activity you can – its become your new passion. Click lot of pictures, share on facebook.

On Diwali-

  • Light fancy candles, scented oils, draw rangoli – click lot of pictures, share on facebook. Post about ecofriendly Diwali.

On Holi-

  • On weekends when actually you can celebrate it, go to a community gathering, put gulal on your cheeks, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.

Same for other festivals like navratri. Gather with friends, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.
For US festivals/holidays-

  • Dress up awkwardly on halloween, go to parades, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.
  • For fourth of July, go to nearby places for the cracker show, take a lot of blurry pictures and share on facebook.
  • On New Year’s, stand for hours in line in freezing cold in NYC or something similar, and end up exhausted by midnight.

Move from cricket to baseball, soccer to football and spend couple of years learning the rules of the game (or don’t even bother). Call your friends when a popular match is about to telecasted (Rose Bowl etc), decorate potato chips, nachos, guacamole and fancy dips on your table with 2L coke, sprite bottles. Cheer loudly when commentators seem excited. Post furiously on facebook how the winning team was frickin’ awesome. When some Indian friend asks about it in the comments, refer them to a link and tell how awesome the game was.

The bottomline is do anything on the weekend that lets you click lot of pictures, and yes, you got it – share on facebook!


I think I even offended some people. To that I just say – don’t be offended, I was there, I did it too 🙂

See the post on Quora here.

4 thoughts on “Indian life in USA

  1. Hi, I am Sunayna Pal. I came to USA with my husband last November. I am a writer amongst other things and am currently in process of writing a book that would comprise of 51 stories from peoplewho are of Indian or south Asian origin and are in USA.

    Are you ready to tell me your story? What brought you to this lovely land and kept you here? your experiences, memories, difficulties, things you miss about home, reasons you want to go back, your ambitions, all of it.

    Feel free to ask any questions. You can know more about me by facebook and you can read my published work here. We can chat online or meet as per our mutual convenience. Please mail me on and .. we will connect.

    I look forward to your story.

  2. Your Post of Indian Life in USA is hilarious, I can relate to it even though I do half of the fun stuff you mentioned. But I enjoy my day when I am among friends and family, and some times I do not need anyone and like to be left alone,it does not matter if I am in USA or India, sometimes very insignificant little things make me happy. So even though most peoples outward lives does seem to fit the stereotype of ‘typical Indians’, if you dig deeper I guess there is lot more to it than it meets your eyes.

  3. It’s been 7 years almost since i came here…

    Reality on the ground (most people wont tell you this, but it’s all good to know…because once you know, then you know what to expect and plan your path ahead , knowing what to deal with along the way)

    1- No pampering here. Got to wear your big boy/ girl pants here and be self sufficient. This is the land of independent doers and thinkers…back home we have cheap labor – maids, cooks, beauticians…all at your doorstep…groceries get delivered to your doorstep, doctors just a stone’s throw away…not here. Here the medical system takes some getting used to and it’s not even that seamless and intuitive.

    2- You got to know to drive. You’re screwed if you don’t (unless you’re living in a big expensive city like NY ). Without a car, you’re handicapped and dependent…not a nice feeling at all….I also miss the rickshaws :(.

    3- You may have to go do your laundry in the laundromat…which isn’t free.

    4- YOU have to make the effort and do the hard work of fitting into the mainstream, it’s not the other way round. Nobody will say this because it’s not politically correct, but fact of life and human nature…racial differences do exist. Here small talk and quick, witty quips is a way of life. Great! if you’re an outgoing, people person extrovert type…if not, you’ve got a lot of learning to do. Also you may get told you sound like a Britisher…biscuits are cookies , lift is elevator, flat is apartment etc etc…also your pronunciation…there’s a difference between american and british pronunciation(which is what we adopted)….but that’s not such a big deal…it’s just fun to be aware of it :).

    5- Our culture places a big value on community – friends, family, connection. You wont find that here..people have their connections, but it’s not spontaneous especially if you’re the odd one. So find a way to make those connections. You’ll need a social support to make up for the family you left behind. I guess that’s why most Indians like to settle in Indian pockets here.

    6- If you are from a field like medicine or teaching, you can almost say good bye to your years of experience and education. you’ll have to reinvent most of the wheel.

    It’s not all that bad…it’s tough but not bad, once you get over these reality bites…this place has a lot of growth opportunity in every way: spiritual, mental, physical…your resilience grows….but you have to be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone.

  4. I like you post you share what you or Indian people feel but India is India. in USA their are lots of thing to enjoy but best joy of feeling came when you surrounded by our family. I miss my India lot.

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