Why India? Why NOT America?

Why India? Why NOT America?

It’s shocking how many times we have to face this question, and how many different ways it is asked, by people who both mean well and people who do not. The fact that I have chosen India as the place I would like to be, just blows people’s minds. Whether they are Indian, American, or otherwise. Not to mention the fact that my husband is just as interested in staying in India. No one can fathom why.

Well meaning friends and family curiously ask if we will ever come to the US to live, although I have tried to make the situation perfectly clear. Strangers have been curious, and some have been outright abusive and taunting. We even encountered a man at a children’s festival who called my husband an “NRI” (Non-Resident Indian, a name given to Indians who live outside of India) after seeing me, and told him that he “just knows” my husband will start living in America, in a very accusing and degrading way. My husband’s employer has recently asked him why he is still living in India, if he could be living in America. At what point will his decision be respected?

Well meaning strangers who ask me why I prefer India, and why I don’t want to be in America, as if I don’t like my own homeland. As if I will one day see the light. Well meaning friends say they have never met an Indian who wants to return to India after visiting America. It’s like what we say doesn’t even matter, no one even hears it. At what point will our decision be respected?

Despite the fact that I have chosen to live in India, and have declared that multiple times, no one is listening. I’m getting tired of justifying my decision, though it was perfectly clear before we even married. Yes, America is my home, yes, I miss it, yes, it’s great in many ways… But I choose India, and it should be as simple as that. “But why?” At what point will my decision be respected?

My family who misses me very much, could almost care less if my husband is able to come with me to visit America, or not. As long as they get to see me. Disregarding my feelings about being away from my husband. Meanwhile, although my family has always accepted my journey, they are starting to wish I lived in America. Not everyone can fully accept that I am not interested in living in America, and some are starting to think that if I am not paying attention to their need to be near me, I am “Disregarding my American side”. Aspects of my future are weighed by expectations of my family, who will ultimately decide whether or not I care about them, based on how much or how little I involve America in my future.

No one really stops to think that if I lived in America, another family would be missing out – his family. But I am not choosing his family over my own. I have merely made the right choice for myself, though it happens to be that we are near his family. In an intercultural, international marriage, someone always feels more loss. But this is the decision we have made for ourselves.

The truth is, as we know it, there is nothing we can do about people’s mindset on this matter.

Featured Image by Fred Seibert via Flickr.com

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24 thoughts on “Why India? Why NOT America?

  1. By contrast, I know LOTS of folks in the opposite camp:

    1. INDIA – WORLD – INDIA – Originally from India who lived for years in the N America, Europe, Australia, etc and chose to return ‘home’ to India. Yes – they also faced questions when they returned but many went on to build very successful careers here with those ‘left behind’ in the US, for example, not reaching nearly the same professional heights or range of international experience… Whereas others have struggled to re-adapt as they have unrealistic expectations about the value of their ‘phoren’ experience, feel trapped by family obligations (i.e. return to care for raging parent) or find it tough to embrace life in India the way they embraced life ‘abroad’.

    2. WORLD – INDIA – From all parts of the so-called developed world hungry for work and life experience in India. I joked once during a virtual lecture for students at Ithaca College / Cornell U, that for many India is the new ‘Green card’ destination of choice!

    I’m just now pulling together resources for my upstairs neighbour who came here to work with one company that is having some serious challenges and she knows cannot remain there much longer. She and her hubby don’t want to leave Mumbai, so are exploring other options and navigating the slightly complicated visa elements.

    You are not alone in choosing India as home. However equally when in multi-national / multi-cultural relationships, it is important that both partners have opportunities to directly better understand the context their partner grew up in… if possible, extremely beneficial. 🙂

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  2. I get this all the time also – I think it is very common, especially with older generation people and people who have never had the chance to visit India. As far as family and friends in America goes, they should stop moaning and feel grateful for the fact they forever have an excuse to visit a tropical holiday destination! 😉
    My other half wants to stay in India and my country’s draconian immigration laws make it hard for him to come to UK but my decision to return to live in India is based on so much more than love and visas. There I can build a business doing something we both love and have the chance to travel the world doing it and this is easier to do there than the UK. We are both open minded about where we will live in the future and both want to experience living in other countries than those which we were born in. Maybe we have become country addicts – serial ex-pats! Maybe it is to the dismay of our families who miss us, however in this modern age of communication and aeroplanes we are never too disconnected. I like to think our families are proud that we chose to break out of the mould and live our lives ambitiously and without fear of the unknown.
    Next time someone questions your decision to live there remind them that it is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, has some of the most beautiful landscapes and cultures in the world, the food and weather is fantastic and even the wine is becoming world class now! Then invite them for a cup of chai (or a glass of Sula)! 🙂

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  3. Honestly, the main question should be why so many US, Australian, UK wives cannot bring their husbands to their countries. However, it still remains a very complex question and it depends on different factors.

    Firstly, the process of bringing your spouse to your country is a long (up to one year) and physically exhausting process. Married couples will have to deal with different legal issues which require money, patience and understanding of immigration law. As US, Australian or UK citizens, they will also need to prove that they are able to support the spouse’s stay financially. Which means they will be required to show the proof of funds to sponsor him or her during the immigration process. They need to have a full time job, have stable income and pay taxes regularly. And unfortunately, lets face it, many people fail on this part, because they don’t have stable earnings.

    Secondly, before you consider to come and live in another country, you have to research the job opportunities there. It is very important to have recognized education and work experience in the field. Needless to say, the job should be preferably in demand, so you don’t end up working as a taxi driver or waitress in a local fast food chain. People who are serious about their future, don’t make any decision without considering this factor.

    Thirdly, it is advised for the couples to live some time together before they decide to apply for immigration. It is not a secret that immigration officers are very suspicious about just married couples if one partner is a foreigner. Living with a spouse for awhile doesn’t give anyone of the doubt that your marriage is genuine.

    Fourthly, personal reasons. Whatever reason you can put into this category and think is relatively important for a couple.

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  4. I don’t think you need to “justify” your decision! You can just say, in answer to the “why?” question, “We want to!” and leave it at that. Is there really more to say? 🙂

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  5. Isn’t it so frustrating when people just won’t accept your decisions and respect them if it doesn’t fit their personal views?
    And this is so true for me too: “My family who misses me very much, could almost care less if my husband is able to come with me to visit America, or not. As long as they get to see me. Disregarding my feelings about being away from my husband.”

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  6. in fact India is an incredibly tough country to live in for people who come from countries where systems work. Then there is social hirechies, caste, corruption, religious and social obligations. We factor all this and operate but for a foreigner it is difficult. plus more importantly India is not exactly a country for women.

    We have issues which were solved by other countries hundred years ago. It is a work in progress. we kind of missed the bus.

    what India has is this nervous, chaotic energy, possibility that anything can happen. We need to harness this ball of energy into productive endeavours. next ten to twenty years perhaps if we push the infrastructure and manufacturing sector.

    considering all this the question asked is very logical.

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      1. We need a law to stop this interracial marriage… cos we don’t support it…. Never.
        And those who marry a foreigner…. they are idiot…. they don’t know there real face…

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    1. And we don’t accept foreigner wife/husband.
      We accept Indian girl than foreigners. Because Indian girls know all the situation better than a foreigner and they are very hard worker than foreigners. They cooks for us delicious Indian food not a foreigner. Western people have looks only not knowledge…… totally 0
      Looks does not matter…… matter is how intelligent you are but you western people are dumb idiot. I don’t know why so many indian marry a foreigner . They don’t see Indian girls far better than those idiots. Those foreigners orders us rapidly not a simple quality all time order…… I think those who prefer a foreigner girl….. those Indians are idiot…… they don’t see many indian girls have better quality than a foreigner…… foreigner don’t respect our religion, culture…… all time laughing on our face…… but Indian girls don’t do that…… they have qualities, qualification than those idiots. Indian girls care you more than a foreigner. They know all the situation, very hard worker and a foreigner wife relex on a chair and order us rapidly, laughing us on our face. You have time to change your decision…….. don’t be fool, don’t marry a foreigner…… never. Our family don’t accept a foreigner… never. Those foreigners see you a laughing toy…… so marry an Indian girl/boy not a foreigner🚫

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      1. More than Indian girls respect you, your religion and cultural than a foreigner……. don’t be fool, you have time to change your decision. Be an Indian always marry an Indian girl/boy not foreigners cos they have zero quality. They see you a laughing toy.
        In India when we are 5-6 years old our parents told us not to marry a foreigner and Muslim never…… you forgot those lessons….. modern Indian boy/girls so idiot that they marry those foreigners……. they will divorce you not a Indian girl. Don’t be fool…… change your decision and always marry an Indian boy/girls cos they know all the situation very well and care you more than a foreigner.

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  7. i get things like this a lot as well. it seems that in america(and a lot of places actually) many people view the west as a mecca that everyone else is dyeing to be apart of. i know many who refuse to see flaws in the country but see nothing but flaws in other countries. i’ve yet to find a common ground when talking on this topic. the people i’ve encountered go one of two ways. either they love travel and view other countries as beautiful and equal, no country being better than the other just…different. or those who view traveling or leaving out of the west as dangerous, with fear being murdered in the airport of places like south korea, india, egypt or china. but i think people are getting to a place where we “get it”. more and more people seem to be traveling, the world is getting more and more blended. with that will come cultural and country appreciation. one day we’ll get it!

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  8. I love this! You nailed it! I also am an American wife of an Indian man. Currently, we’re trying to get him here with me, in America. But the more I think about things, the more I like the idea of living in India. My problem is I’m a bit intimidated by the language barrier. I’d need a location in which I could work and be around English speaking people.

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    1. It is hard! Keep in mind, it does psychologically affect the person who is submerged in any language other than their native language. Not to say it will be a bad thing for your husband, but it will be different for him. 🙂
      The process is so difficult, isn’t it? But it’s worth it, if the US is where you feel more comfortable. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Although we currently live in America, we talk about raising our child in India. My family and friends look at me like I’m nuts and sarcastically ask “Why?!!”

    And Indians dying to come here believe my husband has it made and beg for advice and help getting here. We often explain to them that it isn’t as wonderful as people think. It has many flaws.

    Many Indians believe he has brilliantly succeeded in a plan to get a white chic and get to America, when in reality he didn’t want to leave India. Not that he doesn’t like it here, but India will always have his heart.

    And as you said, one or the other family has to miss out, but you can’t let family make your decisions, you have to do what’s best for both of you and your children, if you have them.

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  10. Hmmm……
    My Indian husband and I chose to live in Nepal because this is where his very successful business is. He’s quite the “pillar of the community” and has an honorary post at the Indian embassy too. He’s worked very hard building his business and his social standing here in Nepal and I wouldn’t dream of taking that away from him. He isn’t the sort of guy that would be happy sitting around while his wife worked.
    I don’t really see my life here in Nepal as any better or worse than my life in the US. It is very different but no better nor worse. I don’t know where Indians get this idea that life in the US is some sort of heaven where everything is handed to you & $ grows on trees? Americans work very hard, time is $, there are bills to pay, traffic jams. healthcare is exorbitantly expensive, etc. No maid to mop the floors daily or wash the dishes in the US!

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