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Unhappy Indian immigrants in America tell their sad stories

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Unhappy Indian immigrants in America tell their sad stories

Postby Winston » Fri Dec 21, 2007 6:18 pm

Little India magazine, a US publication for Indian communities in America, published a story about unhappy Indian immigrants in America, some of which came here against their will. They interviewed some of them to reveal their thoughts and feelings.

Among their complaints were: feelings of isolation and loneliness, cold indifference of strangers and neighbors, fakeness of people, general boredom with nothing to do except buy things at the mall, feeling trapped, etc. You can read the story on their website at the link below. I've also included key excerpts and quotes from the article. I always enjoy hearing from East Indians by the way, because like me, they are spiritual and philosophically oriented.

http://www.littleindia.com/august2004/U ... merica.htm

Unhappy in America
America the beautiful? No thanks. All they want is a ticket back to India.


"The colors seemed to have been drained out of her life. Says Aparna, "The small pleasures of life I used to experience in India, I do not experience here. In India, standing on your balcony, you see life, you see kids playing, you see people sitting together. Neighbors stop to laugh and chat and find out how you're doing. Here I would sit on the deck in the suburbs. All around me, there are beautiful trees, beautiful landscapes, and lovely cars. But there are no people. You might as well hang up a pretty picture in your living room and just keep on watching that. What's the difference?"

"My daughter is growing up here and I worry about her - that she will pick up the culture here and that constantly depresses me. I'm trying to blend in, but at times I still feel depressed and lonely. I think if I were 40 or 50, I would still prefer to go back. I cannot live here for good."

She adds: "I think each and every individual is here to make money. Personally if given a choice, each one of us would be there and not here. So I guess each one of us is compromising and trying to adjust."

"Everything seems to be artificial and formal and people seem to be pretending. You feel as if everyone has a mask on their face. They are not the same any more."

"She feels in America, people are running on mental treadmills, with no time for anyone. You dare not drop in on a friend uninvited or dawdle with extended family, chatting over dinner on a weekday. She says, "It's this 'I'm really busy' attitude. It's the same 24 hours we used to have in India, the same 24 hours we have here. It's the same time, what's the difference, I don't understand. Yes, I know we don't have help here, but I'd make sure I give a hand with the dishes before I leave."

She feels the financial rewards of America are overrated. So what if you have a house or car? "You have a car to drive, because here it's a necessity. In India it's a luxury. Here, you have a car, but it's not your own. You have a house but it's not your own. You don't pay two installments, they'll come and take it away. "

Well-wishers point out to her the glittering wonders of America, the many malls where you can get anything your heart desires. She says, "Yes, because you don't have a family or circle of friends whom you can be with, you walk around malls and ultimately buy things. It's a consumer society and that's the only entertainment."

Even more grueling than the poverty was the loneliness. He says, "If you live in isolation, if you live in loneliness, that is the worst thing that can happen to an immigrant."

His life in Southern and Central Illinois, and later in upstate New York was very spartan and emotionally bare: "These are small, cold desolate places and you have no friends.

It's miserable. If you have no job, you are ill or have some health problem, then that's the time you feel more isolated, more lonely. And that's the time you wish that you hadn't come to this country."

Partha Banerjee who works with New Immigrant Community Empowerment: “There are so many stories of unhappy people.â€￾

It is often a rude awakening for a new immigrant to find himself in a rundown seedy apartment crawling with roaches and rats, counting pennies and struggling to hold on to a miserable job that he hates, if only for survival.

The faces of indifferent strangers greet him in the corridors and on the streets. At that moment, the string bed in the open courtyard of his village home, surrounded by loved ones and a pot of saag cooking on the family hearth, seems incredibly inviting.

This too is somebody's American Dream gone awry."

----------------------------------------------------

A reader on Little India’s site concurred, posting her feedback:

http://www.littleindia.com/feedback/rev ... t=0&page=0

"1) Feedback added by Madhvi / 09-10-2005 (id 39)

What you have written is quite true. I also came here two months back and really feel like I am trapped in a gold cage. I was working in India for almost 10 years as an IT professional and now for everything I am dependent on my husband. It is so frustrating. My father is a heart patient in India and I have no mother. I feel so guilty at times that I wished I have never come here."

------------------------------------------------------

One of my readers told me:

"Dear Winston,
A late good friend of mine from Peru used to tell me "Americans are friendly but not your friend". He observed how in the U.S. one could work for years in a company and never be invited to a co-workers home. This was far different from Peru where people frequently visited each others homes and were very social outside of work. I found this intriguing. As you have said each society has its pluses and minuses. Hope you enjoy this. Take care."

An East Indian friend of mine concurred, saying:

"Yes, very. I agree with your late peruvian friend in that I've found for the most part, most American's have a friendly manner that may or may not reflect how they really feel.

So someone coming here from another country (say India ) would think they're the friendliest people in the world. I thought that too, when I walked out on the streets on my first day in the US and had total strangers smiling at me and saying "Hello, How do you do".....but I quickly realized that they were just 'being nice' and had no earthly interest in hearing my answer.

In India, it is rather different - people aren't as quick to smile and say hi, but they are much more likely to invite you home, or do other things that help cement friendships quicker than I've seen happen here in the US. I know that's generalizing, and I'm not an expert on cultural phenomena by any means, but there definitely is a discernable difference.

Just my .02"

Another East Indian reader described the spiritual depravity in America and the selfishness/egoism of its individualism:

"I myself am heavily influenced by nondualist studies, such as Zen, Sufism, Advaita and Taoism, which focus heavily on interconnectedness with the universe, and getting away from the "I" (and understanding that our own perception of the self is generally false).

Indeed, America is therefore a very spiritually starved place, in my opinion, because of the emphasis on a self/ego (which is most likely perceived falsely to begin with), instead of the heavy emphasis on oneness, or interconnectedness. And it wreaks its havoc in work, in family life and beyond.

By the way, India, where my family is from, is a good place to meet people. Not the greatest, but quite a bit superior to USA in terms of social life. I love it when I visit there.

I do also think, however, that good and bad exists everywhere, in different ways and different amounts, which I know you've addressed. And we can only fight the bad so much. So it's a matter of how well we take the good with the bad.

But yes, when it comes to this particular problem of not being able to control the ego, and being hopelessly caught in the traps of duality, rather than engaging in interconnectedness with all, America is just about at the top. And therefore your site is spot-on about that."
Last edited by Winston on Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Winston » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:45 am

What do you all think of what the Indian immigrants said in the article above? Isn't it so sad?

For some reason, Little India took that article down. But it has been archived on another site, so you can still read it here:

http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/vi ... c1bac388e0
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Postby nicho12 » Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:26 pm

Winston wrote:What do you all think of what the Indian immigrants said in the article above? Isn't it so sad?

For some reason, Little India took that article down. But it has been archived on another site, so you can still read it here:

http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/vi ... c1bac388e0

This is what we talk about everyday on these forums, for some reason, the majority of Americans see nothing wrong with the social life in America, There're times when I feel like may be it's something wrong with me. If you have a horrible social life in a country, of-course dating and meeting women is gonna be hard, those two go hand in hand
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Postby Renata » Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:04 pm

I lived with some indian girls when I was in the UK, they are very family oriented and they were co-dependant on each other. These girls cooked together, ate together etc. The UK can be a lonely place too but the indians there find each other & form bonds & help each other out. Why don't the ones in the US do the same?
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Re: Unhappy Indian immigrants in America tell their sad stor

Postby NorthAmericanguy » Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:39 am

Winston wrote: "Americans are friendly but not your friend"


Read everything, but this quote above is pure gold. You see all these happy Americans, and Americans are quick to dispense pleasantries with practically anybody, but go any further, and people don't want anything to do with you unless you're immediate family, or you're a life long friend.

Aside from that, the only people who I see who are never lonely or isolated are the Americans who drink and do drugs. Americans as well as the Brits have built up a social culture around drugs and alcohol.
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Postby jamesbond » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:20 am

All this article does is reiterate the fact that America is the loneliest country in the world. I feel very sorry for immigrants who move to America and eventually find out just how lonely and isolating the US is.

America is the lonely, unfriendly and anti-social capital of the world. :shock:
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Re: Unhappy Indian immigrants in America tell their sad stor

Postby jamesbond » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:42 pm

NorthAmericanguy wrote:
Winston wrote: "Americans are friendly but not your friend"


Read everything, but this quote above is pure gold. You see all these happy Americans, and Americans are quick to dispense pleasantries with practically anybody, but go any further, and people don't want anything to do with you unless you're immediate family, or you're a life long friend.

Aside from that, the only people who I see who are never lonely or isolated are the Americans who drink and do drugs. Americans as well as the Brits have built up a social culture around drugs and alcohol.


Americans don't want anything to do with you unless you are an immediate family member or close friend.

The social culture in America is go to bars and clubs to meet people. :roll:
"When I think about the idea of getting involved with an American woman, I don't know if I should laugh .............. or vomit!"

"Trying to meet women in America is like trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics."
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