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Why I Won’t Go Back To India





In answer to the question, “Why don’t Indians in foreign countries return to India?” the following answer was given by Gautam Sawala who lives in Germany. He talks of simple things, those that are taken for granted in civilized countries, but are major issues and obstacles in the daily life of ordinary citizens in India.

Been in Germany for about four years now. I don’t want to return to India for the following reasons:


The working hours here are straightforward, 8 am - 5 pm, that’s it. It’s pretty rare that I’m asked to work overtime. Even if asked I can refuse, without having to worry if I would lose my job. Added to that, I get 20 days holiday in a year. Plus unlimited sick holidays. I don’t have to worry about losing my salary just because I ended up in the hospital for a month.


I had a problem with my knee, I went to the doctor, and the doctor suggested I get an MRI, gave me a slip with the appointment time. I got the MRI and went back to the doctor. Then the doctor prescribed a custom sole to be made. Went to the pharmacy that made the sole, they took the scan of my leg. Handed me a €24 (Rs1,924) service fee bill. This was the first time I had to pay for an entire procedure.

To give you an idea about the medical expenses, the MRI by itself would have cost me €300 out of my pocket. Not including doctor’s fee and service charges. Some of my friends have been in the hospital for two to three weeks, they paid nothing more than €80 for bed charges.

Meanwhile, the healthcare insurance is not cheap, a person has to pay around 14.6% of salary towards healthcare. But knowing that you won’t go bankrupt when you get sick is calming.


I don’t mean standard of living. What I mean by quality of life is that what might be a luxury in India is easy to find here.

I was traveling back to my town after a ski trip. It was 11:30 pm. The train was nearing the station. I got up to get down. To my surprise, I was the only person other than the driver in the entire train. And no, there was no ticket collector on the train.

I board a bus every morning to get to work. It takes 45 minutes to get there. I get in, now I have a choice to sit in the front side of the bus where the AC is powerful in summer or sit in the back corner where it’s warm in winter.

I can walk across a zebra crossing, without having to give a thought about an approaching car. It will stop. If the car doesn’t, I will get a free medical checkup and there may be enough remittance to buy myself an iPhone X.


In the four years that I have been here, there has been power surge just once, for 15-30 minutes. There was a heavy thunderstorm, and the lightning caused a short circuit somewhere.


(Yes, Mumbai and Bangalore, I’m looking at you): The only place I can imagine I can make my career in India would be either of these two cities. Both have a pretty bad reputation for drainage management.


Alright, I’m writing this while waiting in a bus stuck in traffic with about 30 cars in front. Fun fact: I’m in a German town with a population of 171,000. The traffic gets pretty bad here too. But these sights are rare.


If you have ever visited Europe, you would know.


People spend a lot of money to travel to Europe on a holiday for a few weeks, I get an opportunity to live in Europe and experience the culture first hand. It takes 25 minutes from my place to get to France. Two hours to reach Paris, four hours to Belgium, six hours to reach Amsterdam, (and) 55 minutes to reach Luxembourg city.


Unless I am in Paris or Munich or Barcelona, I rarely have to worry about being mugged. Yes, there are several pickpocket thieves in the town I live in, but I have rarely felt that I need to be alert all the time. I forgot my phone once in the university hallway. I returned there after about 20 minutes. The phone was right where I left it. 

The other time I bought few things at a supermarket and forgot to collect all my stuff. I left behind a chocolate worth about €2.49. I walked out and went about 100 meters when a woman came running behind me. She handed me the chocolate that I had forgotten.


If you lose your job in Germany, the government would pay you “Arbeitslos Geld” - that is, unemployment money, which includes rent of your apartment plus, certain payments for your expenses. This way you don’t end up without food on the table when you lose the job. However, it requires an individual to be employed full time for about two years before being eligible and is considered a dark spot in your resume if you opt for this.


Everyone is treated equally irrespective of their financial status or connections. For example, you can’t get your license without proper training. No matter who you are, if you make more than one mistake in a driving test, you fail. You can’t slip a fifty euro note and get through the exam. The end result, people on roads know how to drive.


Discrimination in Germany is a big no-no. Specially for government and educational institutions. Only in India, we talk about how racist Europeans and Americans are, and yet follow a reservation system that discriminates (against) people based on their caste. I would appreciate it if the reservation system is based on the financial situation of an individual rather than his caste.


So it works like this: if you have a child, you get paid by the government. For the next year, it is €194 per child per month for up to two children. If you have a third child you get paid €200 and €225 for the fourth child. This is the money you get every month till the child turns 18 and in some cases till the age of 25.

[Courtesy: Quartz. Edited for]

July 18, 2018

Conversation about this article

1: Arjan Singh (USA), July 19, 2018, 3:53 PM.

Gautam: Thank you for writing this article. I have met many Indians outside India, and they behaved rudely and in a very shabby manner. I once signed a contract to live with three young men of Indian origin (2 from South India and 1 from Mumbai). I ended up leaving and walking away from my signed contract in two months due to their lack of empathy/respect for my personal space. Even Narayan Murthy (the CEO of Infosys) commented frankly about the lack of cleanliness in Indian society.

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