Wednesday, September 15, 2010

7 Habits of Non Resident Indians - That Need Change

1. Indian Standard Time: Arriving at a party several hours late is usual for Indians living here in the USA. In a recent party, a sole non Indian couple guest asked if they could come at 8PM instead of start time 6PM. Guess what! The non Indian couple was the first one to come while most others arrived after 8PM.

2. Return after use: Taking pride in exploiting return policies of department stores is awful. It is not unusual for several fellow Indians to buy an item without any intention of keeping it, using the purchased item and then returning it. Such items include formal suit for an interview, GPS when lost at a remote location, lawn mower for temporary use etc. Proudly boasting this ‘ethical’ conduct is common practice of some people.

3. Lawn: Working in lawn is not our cup of tea. Walking in any neighborhood, by just looking at the condition of a yard, one can figure out the ethnicity of the owner. Yard full of weeds, overgrowth and crab grass means an Indian family in the house.

4. Let us wear casual – it is America: Business casual is acceptable dressing at work. Wearing casual outfits in parties and gatherings works. But casual clothes need to be clean too and as per occasion. Think about a wedding where only a handful of males besides groom wore formal suits and rest wearing faded dirty jeans with sandals. I have attended a few of them here.

5. We love organizations: Does 100 Indian organizations in a population of around 20,000 Indians sound right to you? Let us justify. One organization for each state including new ones like Jharkhand. Organizations based on religion. Organizations based on special interest group. And then organizations just to integrate numerous organizations. Of course friends are also from the same Indian state and speak same Indian language. Other Indians count but are secondary. Unity is diversity is the slogan for India.

6. Best use of money: Using money sensibly is good. Saving money is good for economy in long run. While buying expensive cars and houses, spending a trivial amount to buy a card and a new present for a birthday appears unwise to some people. Recycling gifts is not uncommon. Asking for special discount at Indian stores is not uncommon and don’t be surprised if you find if an NRI asking for a discount at BestBuy.

7. India is Superior: While India advances in technology and economically, it still had great heritage, culture, values and glorious past. Being proud of own culture is good but respecting other cultures is necessary. Unfortunately some of us don’t consider other cultures to be equally good. Different does not mean inferior. Indian culture teaches us humility that a lot of us tend to ignore.

If you agree and most importantly if you disagree please post comments.

My next post: Habits NRIs must retain.


Bikram said...

WEll well .. COming LATE offcourse WE ARE INDIANS.. ITs taken me a long time to change that habit and Now I hate people who do it , I always reach 5 minutes early, but yes we need to change the habit ...

Return after use.. I must say against that cause its not just indians who do it , I would says indians still think what will someone think before going to return, or maybe its different here in uk

LAWN:- Paaaji My lawn is immacualte aake VEKHO :) thats where the weekend goes ... but yes i understand indians have this habit of buying a house with a garden but then dont have time to maintain it and then get it all concreted ...

India is superior:- I got a lot to say on this , I feel its stupidity and i am totally against it cause we are not superior, we are mroe racist then a white guy to us, we are best or on top in everything.. and we show off saying i love india and all that pallava whereas we are so shallow that given one chance we will turn our back towards our own country ... I have seen people who slag of people who say anything against india but are the first ones to do NOTHINGGGGGG always :)

looking forwards to the next post chethi chethi chethi :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting Points there! I don't agree to any of these points as being only applicable to NRIs though!

SG said...

Nice post. Here are my comments:

1. I agree. But not all Indians are like this.
2. No experience in this.
3. Come and see my home and the yard.
4. I agree. I cannot stand men and women wearing shorts to the temple.
5. I agree.
6. I agree.
7. I totally agree. Some people bad mouth USA a lot and boast how India is the greatest country in the world. In that case, why are you here? Go home.

Black Walnut Pearl said...

A, this list doesn't end here, even then I am so proud of being an Indian. Imperfections are what we made of goes even to a country of people. Let's accept the facts and still should move forward removing all these toxic habits.

shuchita said...

I am not an NRI but I have heard about these habits from relatives who live there and how desis are forever asking for samples and discounts, bad!!!
I would like to add something about no 7
what I observed on my short visit to US was that the NRI's had a habit of bad mouthing everything Indian other than the culture of course and I heard a lot of talk about the superiority of US over India.
just because we have shifted to US does not mean that everything is bad about India every place has it's pros and cons and we should be proud of who we are

R. Ramesh said...

agree with all the points..good post buddy:)

Insignia said...

Those are few points you touched upon. But you and I agree there are a lot more.

Is India superior? How are others inferior. Each one are unique and superior in their own way. What I get peeved are 2 things

1. Just fly down from India and behave as if you have never heard about India and complain about India. I had a friend who was born and bred in Bangalore and who can zip his ways in Bangalore's traffic which meant that he could use footpath to ride his motorcycle. 2 years in the States for MS and now he comes to Bangalore and like "Phew!! This traffic. I wonder how people manage. Back in the States......"

What the heck!!!!

2. Second kind is complaining about the place you are staying. You chose to come here so why complain? Who is pleading you to stay?

Good post. :-)

Tanvi said...

Excellent post! I have similar sentiments about these topics. Although I do not know many Indians here [these are the reasons why I do not know them!] .. I have never attended an Indian wedding here but I have I seen this 'similar' clothing and cleanliness at religious temples.

I have no idea about the organizations. But I am not surprised! And #7 is where I was nodding all along while reading! Couldn't have said it better!

Amrit said...

@All, Thanks for the comments. I am asking us to change these habits if we have them. Not everyone is same and some of us don't have these habits.

Definition of us= We Non Resident Indians.

@Bik:- When I come to UK, I will look at your yard. Of course not everyone is the same.

@Jyothi:- Agreed. It applies to other communities too and may be a post on that later sometimes.

@SG:-I never return anything because I don't buy what I don't need. You seem to the same. If I visit your area, I will come to see your yard. My comments are only applicable to yard. Inside most Indians keep pretty decorated.

@Black Walnut Pearl:- Yes. I agree.

@Shuchita:- I missed that part for sure. Most Indians say bad thing about India in front of a person visiting from India. Same Indians criticize USA in front of people who are living in the USA.

@Ramesh:- Thanks :)

@Insignia:- I agree. I missed that aspect. You are right.

@Tanvi:- With regard to organization, I can you a link of website that links of hundreds of Indian organization in Raleigh/ Cary area.

kiran sawhney said...

I quite agree to almost every point. But neither I am an NRI, nor have any first hand experience of it. I am proudly a Delhite.

NRIGirl said...

1. So true! They don't come on time nor leave on time.
2. A friend of mine once bought a book only to xerox and return. My impression on her got much affected that day and hasn't been quiet alright since then
3. What most don't understand is how they can affect the whole neighborhood. If they can't do it them self they should at least hire someone to do it.
4. Even at work some people wear Bata slippers... Some workout in work attire; not even caring to buy decent sneakers. I often wonder what they are saving their money for
5. Haven't heard of any organizations among my friends circle. Only I am thinking of forming an NRIGirl group!
6. Trust me, a friend of mind talks in rubies and diamonds but has the worst bed/pillows/sheets. What is the point of outward luxury when you can't have comfortable bedding at night?
7. Many think India is culturally safe. Considering the recent number of broken marriages and extra marital affairs going around in India, one need to think twice before saying anything about the "culture" It is all changing now...

~ NRIGirl

Anonymous said...

hi A hahaha you are absolutely right , couldn't have said it better. 1. Arriving late for any party is a very indian thing, we were made fun of because we always reached on time.
2. This one have been most embarrassing for me, when I saw one of my friends family who bought a TV/VCR combo with a plan to return it after 3 months since they were going back to india after that. The worst thing was they were very proud of their "smart" move.
3. have no experience,
4. OMG, yes you are absolutely right. We are mostly not appropriately dressed for the occasion.
5. Organization , I wouldn't criticize much because they are actually a good way to meet people, and even without organization , excuse me, but we stay friends mostly with our native people. This happens in India as well as in US.
6. I haven't seen much of that.
7. Well , this one we can discuss a bit. There are people with extreme views on this one. There are people acc. to whom India is the best ,well I can live with that somewhat but I find it really hard to bear people who live in time capsule. They came here about 10 to 15 years ago from some remote place in India and for them Indians still go to school riding an elephant. I happen to meet one such family , who asked me if I know what's a pizza since I just came from India. REALLY!! and ofcourse these people and their children find it sooo hard to speak in their mother tongue since they came sooo long ago .WOW, well I just pity such people , GROW UP people , there is nothing black and white, there are always pros and cons of a country and place.
anyway , interesting article A, good analysis.

SG said...

Oh yeah? Have you visited their bathrooms? No TP or a mug. No towel. Bra and Jatti hanging on the shower rod.

Amrit said...

@Kiran:- Thanks for vote of confidence. I am also from Delhi.

@NRIGirl:- Come to RTP. There are many many organization. I can send you a link.

@Anonymous:- No.6 is tricky. See comments from some readers. I agree on point you made in 7. A lot of Indians still live in the time when the left India.

@SG:- I have not seen that but I did not look for it either so cannot say.

Urmi said...

Thanks for your lovely and encouraging comment. Actually I do not know any publisher but if you know anybody that will be great. Thanks for telling that you will be the first person to buy my book if it is published at all. Its because of your constant encouragement and regular comments makes me to write the poems better and better.
Very nice and interesting post. I agree with you that most of the Indians are not at all punctual but I always maintain the time and reach before the time and never reach late. As I am staying in abroad for past 4 years so I know very well how the Indians maintain their house compared to the Aussies who regularly clean the lawns. Infact Indians should learn cleanliness from white people. Yes, you are right even I have also come across few Indians wearing just simple shirt and trouser with sandal which looks so awkward in a party. Hahahaha, thats absolutely right as I have seen many Indians asking for discount over here as it has become habit of India. When I am staying outside India I feel that I should definitely give respect to their culture and try to adopt it. I liked your post very much.

Bhargavi said...

These are not just peculiarities of NRIs but i think some of them r indian qualities .. like coming late or recycling gifts..

BK Chowla, said...

Yes and no.
Most of these are right.I would know better as we have an NRI in the family.

PNA said...

the 7 habits and the comments are so true for Indians. But Stereotypical??, I feel

Like Insignia said, I am furious with those who have just returned and start complaining about India... dust, speed, planning, traffic, they can't handle a sari, or dhoti!!... and the worst, some of them come back here and dress inappropriately. And the use of slang, the fake accent, the brag...

The problem I feel is many residing in India see and admire all this behaviour which is like fodder for more such ridiculous acts!!

chitra said...

Like Kiran said, I don't have any experience of all these things. All this is news to me.

Anonymous said...


Good post. We have to change and it is not difficult. As a community we need to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior.

One comment that I always get offended is that 'Indians are the reason for America's technical advancement. If all Indians leave, then American can not stay ahead!!'. I always ask how many Indians were involved when US put a rocket into Moon?


NRIGirl said...

Hi A: Thinking about it, I admit I am at fault of No.1 sometimes - Arriving late for a meal/party/ function.

It's just that all through the week we hurry hurry for work and church that we feel it is okay to be a little late for friends gatherings.

It's mostly like let's show our face and get out of there as quickly as possible so that they can't say we didn't go.

Sometimes what happens is we go on time only to see we have to wait another two hours for the rest of the crew to arrive and it seems like more waste of time.

But then, no excuse can justify it I guess. We shouldn't accept the invitation if we can't make it on time. Worst yet accepting multiple invitation for the same day...

~ NRIGirl

sm said...

nice post
regarding culture, humanity and caste system please think

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

Well, the point about returning things reminded me rather a lot of my definitely-not-Indian mother and grandmother! It's interesting that things about your own culture start getting to you in the States. I am kind of in the opposite position; I simply refuse to become Mexican, so I know how hard adaptation is. I'd be interested to hear what you think is irritating about "Americans" (people who have already been there for 2 or 3 generations). ; )

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I feel the same way sometimes. In fact I would like to add something else and that is why don't Indians use deodorant. I went for Trishna 2010 and there were four females came and sat 3 rows before me....all wearing some nice suit but with so much of sweat smell. I changed my seat and wonder what that American must be thinking who was sitting just 1 row before me.
And in fact I was not happy with Trishna performance too. There was 1 dance act on the song of 'Dil Bole Hadippa' and it was so unfinished by some ladies. There is no need for lengthy hour...but whatever we are presenting should have some perfection. I don't know when we will get out of that attitude which says "Chalta hai"

Amrit said...

@Babli:- Thanks :)
@Bedazzled:- I agree. Thanks.
@Chitra:- No problem.
@PNA:- very good point you brought. A lot of people in India think it i cool to acquire american habits of NRIs.
@BK Chawla:- A lot of people some NRI relative. Thanks.
@Satish:- I agree with you and good you brought up another good point.
#NRIGirl:- We all have done something similar but only people with courage speak it out.
@SM:- You are right, Missed some points.
@Emuly:- You are probably only one non Indian to comment and your commented in a very smart manner. THANKS. We are all humans and in same boat at some stage. I will write about 2/3 old generation people here in the USA. That is a good idea.
@Anonymous:- Thanks. Wish you would left name but staying anonymous works perfect.

Anonymous said...

Great posting

1 - IST is a cultural baggage
2 - I don't believe in this, this is not only true to NRI but I have seen many non-NRIs exploiting it
3 - Actually most of my NRI neighbors do a pretty good job and take pride in it . It is hard work
4 , 5 - I totally aggree here.. Simpilicity and democracy is the root cause
6 - No comments
7 - Yup.. I recollect one of my favorite story from Hindi language "Bharat Ke Gaon" where it says "Mitti Ka Devata Tilak mein hi gayab ho jata hai". - NO offense to any religious beliefs but it is more on how it is exploited in villages.

Amrit said...

@Anonymous:- Great comments. Thanks. Special thanks for the last point.

Anonymous said...

I really liked your post and I feel the same way from last two years since I arrived in USA. My husband got a comment from his colleagues that you look little different Indian, from which part of India are you? and seriously he kinda felt bad. You guys are still seeing better Indian crowd here in NC. I have seen worse in my previous state. I still can't forget some very badly dressed Indian women and men there. Filthy, over-sized dresses, feet full of cracks and some dirty looking chappals....what else can I say and then I wonder why don't Indian embassy give some kind of self grooming lessons to the Indians after their visa approval from USCIS. I have seen such good crowd in Delhi and Mumbai this time. I myself was socked with their sense of dressing. I don't know when these kind of crowd will start coming to US?
I think the most important thing which needs to be change as soon as possible is the way we present ourselves that includes personal hygiene, neat and clean look, some decent behavior in public places.
We have all pluses with us like no criminal background, decent education, our kids are smart. If we will start working a bit on our outer look then it will be great.
And now I'll come on the 6th point about new associations every other day. It has started with some other communities who are in plenty here. When I go to Morrisville community park, people don't even address you b'coz they are already in their groups and from there the feeling of 'my belonging' start. Its not bad if they are making any new group or something. Its their personal choice.
Whats bad is that you make HSNC temple like its only yours. I went there on Janmashtmi and had fun there but when I went there on Ganesh Chaturthi and it a total shock. There were few Indian old ladies acting like the priest that day. Sitting on a bed over there and the moment I kept sweets in front of the Ganesha Idol one lady came to collect it and then she realized that I am yet not done with my puja and she went away. There were some group of females dancing in the main hall ( I think they had some special day that day)and it didn't feel like temple. And I wondered why did I come here?
I went there for peace and happiness which was not there.
The biggest problem with Indians are that we are not honest....not honest at all.

Amrit said...

@Anonymous (from Morrisville)

I agree with you on most point and feel your pain. Small groups is pretty common phenomenon. If you are new to this area (Cary, RTP, Raleigh), please feel free to email me. I might be able to connect you with like minded people...

Haddock said...

Ha ha I should agree to this.
The worst irritant is the Organisation bit I suppose.
When they are out of their native place, they want to for a group of their own clan, and the worst part is they stick together and ignore others.

Amrit said...

Hey Haddock, Thanks. I see the rationale but sometimes staying in a cliques goes too far.

raji said...

hi"A" ..IAM SO LATE TO READ THIS POST.your article was a perfect target to all the indians who act "smart "and try to outsmart others.Let them try and overcome all these shortcomings you wrote ,and then let them prove.And the return policy exploitation is really funny ;even i heard about the 'GPS'and that too during long weekends "gps" buyers increase drastically and sometimes some shops have a few 'gps'brands out of stock also..!hehe

Amrit said...


I could never imagine about GPS. I found out when a guy told me he was going to return GPS as he was lost in his long weekend trip...I asked him why not just keep the GPS...his answer..I will get it from a different shop and return it again...why block 80$.

raji said...

HEY..I HAVE ONE MOST IMPORATNT POINT HERE , A BEHAVIOUR WHICH IS VERY STRANGE,and most of the NRI people asking others "are you a green card holder? ok ..if not H1 visa ? no ..then ur still inferior.and then L1 visa ..uff dont ask they dont have any respect at all .."I dont understand the logic behind this .they feel they have got some sort of a "crown" by having a green card!

A New Beginning said...

Thats a very thought provoking post A, talking about wedding, Ive spotted girls wearing geans in wedding and looking completely out of place, what you wear is your choice but if you have been invited by someone its your responsibility to represent yourself well...timings have always been a problem, if you wana adjust accordng to others sense of timing, you'd have to suffer, coz even then you'd lag behind their standards :)
Great post!

Amrit said...

Raji, I agree it happened with me too.

Sana, yes. What one wears is personal choice but on occasions are not really so personal...very good point.

Nisha said...

I don't have any experience about NRIs still on basis of common habits of Indians I am agree with most.. no each one of your points :) .. A nice post.

Amrit said...


Thanks for the vote of confidence. said...

..this the first time time I read your Blog....every single word you have written is correct..I agree..most of the Indians living here in USA speciaLLY who come from small towns or on H1 visas behave like misers..with the dressing sense not to mention, its embarrassing....some of them live in big houses but they look like indian labour worthless to mention they live on bargain deals!!!
Yep they exploit the system bringing back and forth the used stuff to stores....
I know a doctors wife...first time I saw her I was shocked to see her dressing sense ,she looked like a maid of some house ..I confirmed again as this Doctor is known in Indian community here ...but wifey seems to be hand to mouth...its pathetic...!!
Yep the embassy needs to give them 101 grooming lessons before coming or providing visas..they are embarrassment for people living here and for country..they come from!!!

Amrit said...


That is pretty strong but some of the reason you stated are basis for this post. To be honest, I did some statistical sampling too to make sure I don't write it without much proof.

You are right. These are the habits we need to change to do better than main stream people.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr. A for being so generous. I met some like minded people here and enjoying there company.
But yes I would love to meet you and I am hoping that I will be able to meet you some day.

Anonymous (from Morrisville)

Amrit said...

Anonymous (from Morrisville),

Sure. Just drop an email. Contact me has my email address. I am glad you came back to read the response.

Anonymous said...

@ A.....nice post but i just wanna add few little things which i guess.....most of the people who has send the post will not even pass in that..
1. Go and check the whistle of your pressure cooker....take a muslin cloth and a knife and wipe the inside edge....u will be surprised to c the amount of carbon......
2. take a knife and scrape your tawa.....
3.take your kadahi and see the bottom of it.....u will c the black spots...or whole black.
4.just look into your kettle....
5.see your ovens....
6.look at the wall or space next to your bin.
take a look at your namakdaani....
7. your fridge having expired things.
i can assure that abt 80% will fail in this test who have written comments on this blog.....happy testing.....

Amrit said...


Mostly I wrote the original post and readers have commented. I have seen two kinds of Indians - either extreme clean freak or the second kind that you mention. It is very good observation ...pretend to be clean but...

Anonymous said...

@A im just telling that looking at the bigger picture lawns and other things.....look into the everyday use things......which r more essential......otherwise it means you are pretending to be clean showing from outside but inside your house its a diff....story.

Amrit said...


I completely agree with you. Very valid observation and thoughtful comment you made.

Anonymous said...

Your observations are spot on. I'm not an NRI, but have enough of them in my family to understand and appreciate where this comes from.

Additionally, some of our worst traits come out when travelling so generally we try and pick a package tour that doesn't include Indians, though that sounds so disloyal and mean. But, en masse, our compatriots do tend to be loud and rude, they don't understand queues, crib about paying for rest-rooms and are stingy with tips (i try and explain this last bit away by thinking, well, we're a developing nation, after all) and worst of all, make loud and disparaging remarks about historical monuments and art displays, littering, bragging about the art and culture scene back home (though I know for a fact that we Indians have no qualms about spitting or urinating against a 15th century wall) and yes, we have this horrible thing about exoticising our country - I've cringed to overhear guys holding forth as experts in ayurveda, yoga, art, astrology, the vedas, all the while angling for a date with a white woman.

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! After all I got a website from where I be able to
really get useful information concerning my study and knowledge.

My web blog: graduate certificate programs

Anonymous said...

Remarkable things here. I am very happy to see your post. Thanks so much
and I am taking a look ahead to contact you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

Here is my web blog vigrx

Unknown said...

Wow! Super article and pointers especially the unity in diversity one. I am in Oman since last 7 years have heard many inspiring stories of Indians like Being a non-resident Indian, having migrated to the Sultanate of Oman over two decades ago in the year 1972 and today he is one of the richest here.
Source: Visit