Litany of NRI complaints

Don't be surprised if they ask you to fedex mangoes and made-at-home spices.

If you agree with what I say in the first paragraph, read on otherwise you will be better off switching to the serious stuff above this piece. They may have lived here for many, many years but one year abroad makes all the difference for some of the newly anointed NRIs, not all but definitely many, many to start complaining about chaotic traffic, dirty roads and lack of discipline in us home caged locals. You will hear free advice on what we ought to, what we should and should not. All this transformation happens in just one year. There is no end to their litany of complaints but their original genes come into play in many situations that I have witnessed.

The other day, I was at the front desk of a gym when an NRI couple was haggling hard to get concessions on the package they had selected. In dollar terms, they were paying peanuts. But when nothing worked, they declared that they were NRIs and therefore deserved a discount. They made it sound as if without their investment, fitness industry in India will suffer a huge setback and further investments in fitness sector will dry out. In their adopted countries of residence, they will sign on the dotted lines. 

Another example, back home, they would tell the steward to add 20 per cent for service while handing over the credit card. But here? Oh, there is already, ten percent service charge added in the bill, leave it. In any case, give them too much and they will end up drinking. The other day, at a common friend’s home for dinner, I saw an NRI mother rush to stop her child washing her hands with the tap water and went to get the mineral water and declared that she didn’t want the child to get any bacterial infection. Even mineral water of India was suspect in her view. Open their large size fridges in their homes and you would find them stocked with super size food containers and junk food bought many months back with no real energy left.

Then you will hear lectures of the carbon deposits India is leaving on our dear mother earth and how we are partners in crime for global warming but then they will leave all lights on in their rooms, forget to switch off geysers and computers, a habit they have acquired in their adopted home. It is another matter that their young kids drive large size SUVs to their schools and colleges. And a family of four may have three cars and we locals are the ones destroying the eco-system of the world. It is wise not to play Hindi music on FM radio while driving unless you want to hear something like this: “Oh, your music is so dull.”

That said, don’t be surprised if they ask you to fedex Alfonso mangoes and made-at-home spices for the sambar and chicken gravy and Indian snacks. All else might change but not the taste buds. The thought that goes through my mind is this: What happened to all the bacteria worry? What happened to all the infections that our food has? I have no answers. Maybe adopted parents are better than the real ones.

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