Living and traveling abroad you often get asked this question, so what is it like being an Indian in a foreign land? What do people identify an Indian with? Are you special or discriminated? Do you stand out? Are you treated well? Do you get equal opportunities? In my opinion there isn’t any one answer and in my 4 years of traveling and one year of living out I have seen a spectrum of responses like – bollywood, spicy food, software, brown skin, can’t be trusted, talk too much, cricket, sharukh khan, booming economy, extremely poor, labor class, wife beaters, intellectuals, beautiful women, unhealthy food, horny men, motels, wild elephants. These are just a few that I can remember but I am positive there are loads more. It’s only after living abroad that I have realized what a tremendous responsibility I carry on my shoulder. Most of the times my behavior will represent the image of my country. The temptation from locals of typecasting a foreigner by his nationality is really high and expected. That’s why your lifestyle has a bearing on the image of your country. Unfortunately many Indians living abroad don’t view it this way. They don’t seem to get that what other people may experience in their interactions with them will probably be the last and only opinion they will carry in their minds about Indian’s. I have encountered a fair share of bad behavior from fellow Indians and its easy to see some clear stereotypes – stewardesses serving are our servants, white and asian women are an easy lay, littering is our birthright, etiquettes in public are for the English not us, jumping a queue is only way to get a cab. It’s really disappointing when many locals write you off because they have had a bad experience with an Indian before. Ofcourse there are those racist’s as well for whom not matter what you do you are still no good. I guess the way one needs to manage this is to remember the compliments and forget the insults. Anyway no one said living abroad was easy but I do hope that the new breed of Indians traveling and living abroad bear in mind that we are the face of India to the world community and we must do all it takes to make our country proud.
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