Saturday, August 20, 2005

For men who missed the elevators...

The American Dream! What an anachronism this phrase is in danger of becoming for today's indians moving to the US as we find the dream merchants outsourcing their wares to our own country of birth...sadly we who landed on this soil lost our footing at home...for the last two years I have seen the angst of friends who saw the H1B quota filling up in no time...thankfully, I never had to go through that, coz of my GC...moreover my fights were entirely against myself. Its been a long struggle for us who landed here...all the advantages we once took for granted were undone the moment we landed English education which lost its bite when faced with the american accent and deteriorated with every "Say, that again" encountered, the money we once took for granted and now had to be earned, the friends that once abounded, food that once could have been wasted without a second was a learning experience that came with a lot of heartburn, "akkarapacha" and "paapi chellunnidam paathalam" were always the thoughts of the hour as the moment we got here, India moved into BPO mode and the economy grew by leaps and bounds.

Some months ago, I used to think my sheni dasha had rubbed off on my close friends too as noone got to the heights they aspired to reach(after 3 long years it ends next month!) and were left trapped in tiny companies with challenges and opportunities that ceased to inspire after a while. Today, I laugh at that because my closest buggers have all turned the corner. Bipin kicked the jinx out with a job at Boeing, following which Vikas was snapped up by Cisco, I was hired by Universal, Mathew landed a job at Disney last week and just yesterday Muthu by Argo Consulting. We were the wrong kind of desis to land up here, bcoz other than the thought of making it big in America we didnt know the effort needed to even make a start for our dream. After 30000 dollars spent on becoming a Master of Science...I questioned the Almighty's sense of justice as Bipin went to work at a small earth-sciences tech firm in Long Beach which didnt do justice to his abilities, Vikas at a document-search company in the Bay Area where despite his dedication...his project managers kept hounding him, Mathew languished at a small Telecom company in Los Angeles for two years, I went skipping from one disastrous job to another and Mithun first bade goodbye to MS and US with a promised job in Dubai which ended up as a dead-end, returned with his tail-between-the-legs and a girlfriend who shut the door on him(wuz so reminescent of Lakshya)...studied his ass out and pulled his grades out of a big hole, went to work in Business Warehousing...only to get fed up and drop out, landed a job at a Patel's liquor store and at the very end of the rope he had clung to for two long years found this job as a strategy consultant.

Looking back, I still remember a Vikas asking the dumbest possible questions in the Introduction to Computer Networks course in our first semester at USC totally embarassing us...but his dogged research and passion for the field rewarding him with a coveted job in the largest networking corp, Bipin even dropping a course in computer communications which he thought he wud fail but fought back to graduate as summa cum laude with a 3.8 gpa, Mathew working many odd jobs to earn money for leading a stylish lifestyle which made me really proud of him while carrying his MS along, Muthu who cud chatter hours and hours about any topic on earth other than studies taking such overwhelming command in his field of Operations Management that I had to bear hours and hours of lectures on Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma and Strategic Consulting and me(lemme not say anything more abt myself....coz compared to these guys mine wuz a much more charmed existence in university!).

I feel so proud of these guys today...long back to motivate me and themselves these pals wud tell me of university mates getting jobs at Microsoft, Qualcomm, Paypal, hefty paypackets, etc, etc and I would offer back comfort in my carefree way by telling them we were meant to take the stairs up and not the elevator, despite wondering whether we would ever get there and yet we all did it. Last week, when Mathew talked to me about getting into some sort of entrepreneurship and to stop thinking in the mallu way of a salaried job for a lifetime I finally gave the self-employed idea serious thought...well I am still thinking about it! Making the quick buck is easier said than done... like the past three years I see another struggle for this new thought thats crept up on me...hopefully the idea of moving back to India in a few years with capital to fall back on will give me some motivation! This post is dedicated to all my friends who are still looking for their way to a little sun and succor that a job offers in the mentally tiring journey which is the reality of America life...if these dimwits I wrote about above could do it...I am sure you guys could outdo us by miles. The inspiration for this post came as Rajay, a junior at USC and SCT I befriended and became very close to in just the last few months was left devastated by the H1B quota getting exhausted...aliya, the Master's quota still stands...this may very well be the last struggle you gonna face in life...all the best to you and the thousand more brethren faced with this situation here.


AJ said...

Everyone in your post sounds amazing.... regardless if they've found "the job" yet or not. Success is measured in more ways than just a good job, no?

rookie_journo said...

Hey... my life reads very similar to urs, the major difference being u took the stairs in the US and I used the "Seedhe" here in INDIA and not the "Lift".

Was touched to read da story

Anonymous said...

Very poignant for the current climes...

Sujith said...

reading ur post, feel like life is not easy anywhere.. everyone has their own problems.. all the best to u man..

silverine said...

America may or may not be the promised land anymore but India sure is. Feels good :)

joseph said...

I still remember Mithu... Coming back dejected from the US... Leaving all his MS studies half way through... It was a wild period for him... But he came back and fought it out.. and I am sure its because of the support you guys gave him...

Anyway !! Today he has made it big!!!

Jiby said...

amberjane, what you say is job is bad so long as you are happy doing it.

rookie_journo,its so much better when you dont get the things you ask for...the fight to get there feels sweeter in hindsight...haha..i wonder why 'lift' didnt become popular outside makes as much sense as elevator!

roopa, glad you could relate to should take up blogging too!

jithu, i have stopped comparing life in india and us...everything has its plus and minuses! all the very best to you too!

anjali, yeah like u say india is the place to doubt...and i am raring to be back for good!i feel like mahabali in exile...america is still a great place...but its just not my motherland!and thanks for linking me on you blog...really appreciate it.

jofu, you were with me in loyola, sct and now in the usa too...i know ur one person who can read any of my posts and know why i write...all what i write...and i hope muthu doesnt kick my ass for writing all that abt him without taking permission!

Anonymous said...

It all depends on your outlook towards life...

You feel good while doing your job or you doing it just for the sake of it..?

What do you need in life..happiness, money or a mild mixture of both.. ?

I guess you feel good when you live in your motherland, but what is stopping you from coming back is your financial safety?

What I feel is, No point in living a life just for the sake of it! Think about it and do what you think is right..This is the best time, once you get married you are hooked!!

May all be well!


Arun said...

Just saw the movie Swades yesterday, and I think it captures the essence of what you have said very closely.
Everyone is having their own struggles, be it in India or away. If anyone tells you his life is easy, he is either lying or his life is not worth living.
Think about it.

Praveen said...

I have heard that you can succeed in the US with hard work and dedication. But I ask myself, with hard work, dedication and a little bit of luck, you can succeed anywhere, cant you? :).

Nice post, you have described the job scene in the US pretty well

Jiby said...

shan, dunno wht to tell u da...i am feeling scared of beginning to like american life more and more...but i will keep your advice in mind when the time to make a decision comes...moreover its so tough breaking the status-quo!

arun, swades hit the bulls-eye with its portrayal of shahrukh's character...its when ur education is over that life really begins and ppl who work in alien lands are unsure what lies in store for them in they only know of the India of their "wonder years"!

praveen, i have asked myself this question a hundred times...wht it is that takes indians out of their home soil more than any other race in the world...for some its survival, others its money, for others it is a better lifestyle and for some others its all they wanted to do in life...but as u said wherever you are it finally boils down to hard work, dedication and luck.

Anonymous said...

Man ! Inspirational stories all..Life in the USA does not seem to be a bed of roses as people think.

Good that all of you have finally done well!

btw atleast you had the stairs ...I have to throw a f%#@$ rope and climb up with that. Considerably more difficult!Havent got too far either-

Often fall with a resounding thud ; and then have to throw the rope again


btw ur wish is my command. I have a new post; developed from a comment on Silverine's cookin post

also do send me ur mail id at

Anonymous said...

Hey Jiby,
V.nice post as always... but man are we dimwits ??