Friday, April 3, 2009

Foreign Influence

Six years is a significantly long period for someone to be away from ones home. And as more time passes, the more distant you seem to grow. You seldom are the same person who left a good deal of time ago. And by the time you return those near and dear around you certainly can feel the difference.
I left India as a naive 18 year old, who frankly had little or no comprehension of what he was going to see and experience in a distant foreign land.
I'm 23 now, and after six years in St.Petersburg, the experience has been more than rewarding.
I came here to study medicine, but in turn learned a lot more. Theoretical education is something that one can gain frankly anywhere, but the key lessons in life arise out of personal experience, especially in a solitary atmosphere.
I have a lot of gratitude towards Russia. Through more ways than one it has brought out the very best within me. It has taught me to be independent, strong, and frankly taught me to think for myself.
The thing is, if you constantly live under the shadow of your parents or guardians, irrespective of the fact that they mean well, you will seldom ever be able to harvest your own personal thought.
And hence the very ability to think for yourself, thus disappears.
Its almost time for me to return to India bidding this country farewell for good.
But the mood within me is neither ecstatic nor even the least bit joyous.
My country unfortunately does not exactly paint a pretty picture.
Yes we are on top of the world, we have a booming economy and have a hyperactive middle class. But as a people, I believe we are far from perfect.

When I arrived in St.Petersburg six years ago, we were ragged mercilessly by my fellow Indian "brethren".
There were no hellos or helping us around in a foreign country. For them, the main priority was to rag us to shreds in the first few days we came here.
People talk of being racially abused by foreigners when you are in their country, but what would you say if you were abused by you own countrymen in a foreign country?
On the contrary, since I live in a foreigners hostel most of my closest friends have been either Sri Lankans, Mauritians and Africans. They have been quite helpful to me. And contrary to the stuck up communist picture the Americans have painted about the Russians, they are actually quite a warm, friendly people, who are ever curious about our so called Indian "culture".

I read this news article where a boy in a medical collage was killed in a ragging incident in India. I frankly have since been thanking my stars that I did not get admission in an Indian medical collage.
There are Arabs, Chinese, Africans, Sri Lankans and Russians living in my hostel, and not one of them has ever ragged their fellow country men when they first came here.

On another note, the Russian medical graduates in India are considered incompetent and unfit to practice medicine.
The general feeling is, that a medical graduate from an unheard of hamlet in India can be a splendid doctor, while someone who studied at one of the best schools of medicine in Russia is nothing short of a quack.
Why is Russia bad? Because any university that accepts students irrespective of their caste and doesn't demands hideous sums of money in the name of "donations" is bound to be bad.
When back in India I told a doctor that I am studying medicine in Russia, he made a face as though I just barfed in front of him.
Such is the grand welcome I am going to receive when I return.

Indians must be the only race which can make their own countrymen feel bad.
Besides, their total lack of self respect can be seen in the world of cinema itself.
Only an Indian will act in a film which showcases Indians as a barbaric monkey brain eating race (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), and frankly Slumdog didn't exactly improve our reputation as a civilized race either. Agreed we have problems(which country doesn't?), but that doesn't give the right to an outsider (read Danny Boyle) to showcase it to the world. Who cares if the world now thinks that India is an exotic land of snake charming, minority persecuting natives who are poor to boot? At least we won two Oscars.
Suppose Danny Boyle went to China to make a film about the oppression of the Tibetans by the Chinese government, you can very well assume the sort of welcome he would get.

With the way things are going, I can guarantee India is going to lose a bulk of its educated youth to foreign countries just on account of the fact that it does precious little to make them feel welcome at home.
Its ironic that we spend crores on the Incredible India campaigns to woo foreigners, but do nothing of the sort to keep the educated strata of society from leaving the country in search for greener pastures.
If this goes on what will remain behind will be the uneducated remainder of the populace basking under the glory of a corrupt government.
Its no small wonder that most NRIs seldom return home.
I for one certainly have begun having second thoughts about returning home. But then again, as ironic as life can be, I choose to return. Mainly for my family, which is ever anxious to see me back. Not for any patriotic reasons.

The only good thing right now is that the majority of the youth are beginning to realise the problems faced within the moral strata of our country and are willing to come forward and speak out against oppression(read Pink Chaddi campaign).
And hopefully as the awareness grows, the better it is for the country to awaken to a brighter future.


sammythewizzy said...

Looks like you have had a very bad experience with Indian students over there. I haven't really seen such an ugly face of our country first hand yet, so it's kinda hard to agree with "Indians must be the only race which can make their own countrymen feel bad"..

Every nation has people who are decent and those who are bad, right?.. Maybe you have seen the worst of them so far..

Choco said...

I am torn between wanting to strongly agree with you and then again wanting to protest and say all's not lost & everyone's not an ogre.

Now if only I could find some proof to back up my protest....

Promise to be back with some.......:)

Biju Mathews said...

Didn't you enjoy the ragging? Oh, common, life is enjoyable after it!!!

I likedwhat you wrote here, "...ironic that we spend crores on the Incredible India campaigns to woo foreigners, but do nothing of the sort to keep the educated strata of society from leaving the country in search for greener pastures..."

Keep Blogging!

todays writer said...

I am proud of you Vyazz, you have written wonderfully.....what you wanted to write fearlessly!
It is indeed sad that India treats Russian degree holders so badly. Especially since we can really use all the help we can get in the field of health care.
Also, the rate at which eve teasing and bad behaviour are increasing in India, I prefer walks on Nevsky street anytime.
Keep up the good work.

mynameissachinlol said...

It's heartbreaking to read that such things go on..

So much potential goes to waste because of someone's idea of amusement.

Is there no way to stop it?

Shadowthorne said...

Some Malaysians go to Russia for medic study too. Hope you meet the lot. I used to study with them, in nutritional science, but ended up being a teacher.

It's the knowledge and experience you gather there that will make you stand out. My aunt, a senior nurse in a government hospital told me that these Indian-educated doctors (not Indians themselves, but our students who returned from India) are a lot worse than the local-trained ones.

So rejoice! At least you got to go far to Russia. I still envy you.

Vyazz said...

@Sam, well, in short yeah the Indians in my hostel can be a bit trying at times, but over the years I've gotten used to them. I suppose ur right when u said every nation has a good an bad part bout them. Its all about the experience I guess!

Vyazz said...

@Choco well...I do agree on the fact that not everyone's an ogre, but I feel that somewhere Indians would do better off if they would learn to respect one another irrespective of their caste, race or religion. Because the thing is, it kinda feels weird when someone doesn't feel accepted in their own country.

Vyazz said...

@Biju....yeah ragging can be fun if it merely involved some light hearted fun, like singing or dancing or introductions an stuff. With us it went as far as stripping off(even literally if u kno wat I mean) our dignity at 3am by a huge amount of dead drunk seniors.
Seriously wasn't prepared for that kinda stuff!

Vyazz said...

@Today's writer: Thnx Mads alwayz appreciate ur encouragement!!

@mynameissachinlol: that's how the cookie crumbles.....

@Shadowthrone: Amusing to hear bout the low reputation of Indian returned docs in Malaysia. Yeah I did meet a few Malaysian Tamils who were my seniors here. I suppose u r right as far as standing out with the knowledge and reputation u have gained...that alone can make the difference.

ramya said...

I am on the fence after reading this. I really don't know to agree to disagree to your opinions. But, I am always clear on the point that for Indians, India is best to settle down. I myself, would like to see myself in m old age in India rather than being somewhere in a foreign land. I don't know about the medical college things though. By the way, Danny Boyle's movie was not welcomed in India also until Oscars.
And, Indian colleges are not all that bad. This one death should open eyes of people. In future, I hope nothing of this sought happens.

Vyazz said...

@ramya, truth be told, whenever I am in India, I feel it very hard to part with it and leave abroad. Its not our country I hate. Its just the mentality of the people. I wish Indians would just for once get rid of all their prejudices and for once show some character. Irrespective of how much I rant about it, rest assured I will be settling in India only. After all, there's no place like home!!

Kadambari said...

Though it all seems harsh, each word of yours rings true. Indians could learn to respect themselves and be proud to belong here! The way we put ourselves down in front of others is shameful. Hopefully, the coming generations grow out of this!

Very well written.

Nutty-Martian said...

Seriously very well written. There something really wrong with us. Sadly some of us find some strange happiness in putting the others down.Yes "Indians must be the only race which can make their own countrymen feel bad"..
Dude you write so very well! Come back to India soon...we'll behave well.!

Vyazz said...

@Kadambari...thnx 4 ur opinion....I suppose only in good time can we regain our lost self respect.

@Nutty Martian.....hehe don't worry...I'll be returning to India irrespective of my opinions.....after all...theres no place like home..

brocasarea said...

ohk....wht u said here is so true...

we indians really downgrade ourselves...for publicity,money etc...

by the way wht made u take med there??..any particular reason??...keep blogging bye!!:)

Vyazz said...

@brocasarea: What made me come here was a mixture of awful entrance exams, donations and reservations. The same reason goes for the ton of Indians who study here. Besides, our university is one of the well known ones in Europe, and in a prominent city(St.Petersburg). The only thing is that we need to give an MCI exam that will make us eligible to practice here in India.

Sandhya Ramachandran said...

I agree with many things you have written in this piece, but well, I have plenty to disagree too! I do agree that somewhere we have lost focus and have become a land where respect for one another and non-religious harmony lays forgotten. But the only way this can change is when the youth, like you say, DO something about it. It could be something as small as staying in your country and practicing an honest life! Or maybe something big enough to change the nation. But the WILLINGNESS to do that- not just for a better country, but a better humanity, is what is required at the moment. If you, equipped with a medical degree from a reputed college, is going to be bogged down by some close-minded individuals, it is going to make a lot of people lose quality medical treatment. Young people like us, SHOULD be undeterred and relentlessly fight towards whatever we are aiming at. And if we do that in the land where we were born, it has an impact that would be more personal to feel.

A toss of my tuppence worth of words. :)

Maybe you are not patriotic due to all the bitter experience. But my suggestion, if you like, would be to NOT be disillusioned by the negative forces and struggle on. After all, like YOU said, there's a bad side everywhere and you aren't yet acquainted to the better part of India...

Vyazz said...

@Sandhya:... Firstly, thnx for visiting, and secondly, like I stated, in spite of all the resentment I have, there a good chance that I will be settling in India only.
I suppose the main reason for our country's condition is because the educated youth feel frustrated with the system as a whole and hence they leave India.
Truth be told this is not the first time I have felt bogged down. But like you said, I wont let it get to me.
Appreciate your opinion!!

Sandhya Ramachandran said...

I JUST typed a comment and blogger deleted it for reasons best known to itself! :(

Well, you're right. Frustration is what makes us Indians buckle and bolt. Which is precisely why we SHOULD NOT let frustration creep into all our lives. Good luck with the medical practice,Doc!

And let me get preachier, no more... :P

SSQuo said...

Good post. As I am someone who has been away from home for about 8 years now I know what you mean. I agree and understand some things and do not the others.

Its great that you put your thoughts down though.

brocasarea said...

but i thought ours system is the best?

Vyazz said...

@SSQuo...Thnx....Like I said its not the country I hate, just the average mentality of the people.Hopefully it might change with time. Thnx 4 stopping by!!!

@Brocasarea: It depends, you see there is a universal prejudice everywhere. Though each country thinks of its system of medicine the best, its not necessary that others will acknowledge it. People always look down on foreign medical degrees, be it from India, Russia or Australia.

Rob said...

I work in the US remotely with plenty of folks in Gurgaon and Mumbai, and I'm well aware that the cafeteria over there doesn't stock chilled monkey brains and snake surprise for the associates lunches...