GaramChai.com >> Book >> Intro
past decade has seen a massive exodus of young technocrats
of Indian origin to countries around the world. From Madrid
to Mexico City, Singapore to San Jose, Indian professionals
have carved a niche for themselves, working for myriad employers,
ranging from Fortune 500 giants to small state and city governments.
By far the most popular destination is the US. After spending
two years in UK, even I decided to move to the US in the spring
of 1997. As an Indian technocrat, working for a global company,
I have lived and worked in India, UK and the US, and have
had an opportunity to build an “international perspective”.
I wish to share snippets of my life and experiences, gained
while living and working in the UK and US.
my spare time, I like to work on my pet project-- building
and maintaining a community web portal - GaramChai.com.
My experience in steering the affairs of this portal, along
with writing my weekly column on “Working Abroad” for Indian
express have given me a unique opportunity to understand the
Indian community in the US.
this book, I would like to share my knowledge and ideas with
emerging professionals, budding executives, students and career
focused individuals who would like to get a glimpse of life
in the US.
are interesting times for professionals - on one hand large,
corporations around the world are announcing layoffs; on the
other hand, new global opportunities in all areas of business
are arising. Professionals have to learn to consciously
and actively manage not only their personal lives but also
their careers. Young professionals in India still aspire to
partake in the globalization that we are experiencing. I have
complied the chapters for this book from the regular column
that I write for IT People.
hope that this book will provide a roadmap to professionals
aspiring to pursue a career in the US.
was the day before Christmas, 1994, when the HR manager of
the software company in Bangalore I worked for called me and
asked if I’d be willing to fly out to England at a week’s
notice. As a rookie programmer, six months out of college,
I was on cloud nine. The trip to British consulate, hectic
preparations, documentation, foreign exchange… all whirred
by and before I knew it I was on the flight to London. Six
months later, I was back in Bangalore, having got a taste
of the west, itching to return. It was an exhilarating time
not just for me but thousands of my peers in the IT industry
who were experiencing an unprecedented demand for their skills.
seven years. Here I am, now a green card holder in the US,
one of the millions who call themselves NRIs (Non Resident
Indians), who reside in almost all the fifty states of the
US and most other western nations. A lot of water has flown
down river Cauvery (and Thames and Kentucky) since I first
landed in London and Kentucky, but I can still taste the trepidation
and excitement that I felt while preparing for my first trip
professionals in India still aspire to partake in the immense
globalization that we are experiencing, which is expected
to grow by leaps and bounds in the twenty-first century. Thousands
of Indians move to the US, UK, Canada and other western nations
every year. Each move involves hours of anxious research,
surfing the web, preparing for the trip; not to mention the
apprehension over what fate has in store, thousands of miles
away. In the book I wish to share snippets of my life and
experiences gained while living and working in the UK and
have been writing a column on “Working Abroad” for Indian
Express (IT People section) for a year and regularly correspond
with my peers and readers scattered throughout the world.
Many of the readers regularly write to me asking for suggestions
on life abroad and career options available to foreigners
in the US. People in India also ask me about the nuances of
life in the US, how we work and live here, earning and savings
potential, cultural and social nuances and the general standard
of living and quality of life. I have decided to compile a
collection of my thoughts and ideas into this book, divided
into nine sections that I hope the readers will find informative
an insightful. While planning a visit to a foreign country,
one must be aware of the intricacies involved in applying
for visas. There are different kinds of visas and entry permits
given to foreigners wishing to come to the US. In the
first section of this book we will look at immigration, visas
and documentation required by Indians who wish to come to
the US to work or study. We will also look at employer-sponsored
green cards that give individuals immigrant status, allowing
one to live and work in the US without any restrictions.
of the main incentives for people to migrate to a foreign
country is the opportunity to magnify one’s earning capacity
and consequently savings potential. The standard of living
in the US, as compared to that of India is manifold. Hence,
even the saving potential gets magnified when Indians move
to the US. In the second section of this book, we will look
at various aspects of a person’s finances including savings,
taxes, entrepreneurship and credit reporting.
a person moves to a foreign country, he or she needs to understand
the basics governing the legal system. In Section three of
the book, I will attempt to give readers a basic overview
of law and the legal system in the US. Also included is a
personal anecdote of my brush with the small claims court
system in Chicago that the readers might find interesting.
is perhaps the most consumerist nation in the world. The choices
of products and services available to most consumers can be
exciting and at the same time overwhelming. In the section
on consumerism, we will look at shopping, services and e-commerce
in the US.
is a land founded on the premise that all of its citizen (and
residents) should be able to pursue Life, Liberty and happiness.
Work hard and play hard is a motto of most people. Section
five is intended to give a glimpse of the lifestyle in the
US. We will look at some of the myriad leisure activates that
Indians in the US pursue.
of the best medical care in the world can be found in the
US. However good medical care comes at a cost and the
system here is built around health insurance. Without insurance,
the cost of even ordinary medical services can be prohibitive.
Most of us try to prevent medical illness by regular exercises
and try to keep fit. In this section of the book, I also talk
about the ubiquitous 911 emergency phone services available
to everyone in the country. Section seven of the book looks
at the changing demographics of the country.
section eight of the book, we look at Indians in America and
how their lives have changed after Sep 11th. The
World Trade Center bombing on September 11th left an indelible
mark on everyone in the America and the rumblings are still
being felt around the world. Remarkably however, months after
that sordid incident, the theme of Israel Zangwill’s play
written during the beginning of twentieth century titled "The
Melting Pot" still holds tremendous power on the American
imagination. The promise that all immigrants can be transformed
into Americans, and enjoy liberty and freedom to pursue ones
dreams, still sways millions who come here.
last section of this book is intended to give readers a glimpse
of professionalism and work-life in the US. The past decade
saw the emergence of a wave of opportunities for Indians abroad.
However, as we begin the new millennium, we are seeing a slowing
of the heated economy. In this section, I will attempt to
take the reader through various aspects of economy, change
book is not intended to be a ‘how to’ book but is intended
to give the readers a glimpse of lifestyle, work and careers
in the US. In the appendix, have included links to a number
of web resources that the readers might find useful. I have
drawn on my life experiences along with observation of my
peers and fellow Indians who are also trying to call America
their home while maintaining their roots back in India.