NRI Pulse


Perspective

Social media post sparks debate on quality of life in India vs. USA

NRI PULSE STAFF REPORT

A social media post by Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi, an Indian national touring the US, has sparked a heated discussion on the quality of life in India compared to the USA. Here’s the post that started it all:

“Day 11 today in the US 🇺🇸 and here’s a thought I had yesterday evening. It might trigger some of you… But if online text with somebody’s opinion triggers you that’s a space you should totally work on and protect for your own energy 🤓 So the thought is – I’ve always felt how luxurious life in India 🇮🇳 can be with quick food deliveries, 10min grocery delivery, affordable household help. I literally survive on grocery deliveries.

But REAL quality of life is actually stuff that’s super basic. It’s clean air, ongoing electricity, availability of water, plenty of greenery, good roads. One doesn’t need quick grocery delivery if they have clean air and the infrastructure to walk to the store without stray animals or fear of getting hit by the car. Or they can drive without crazy congestion and drivers coming from all directions. And the real luxury is central air conditioning instead of dying in 45C without any electricity on some days, freedom to wear what you want to be comfortable instead of men ogling at you. Because things that have made me happy in the past few days apart from family time, are morning walks, good air, green pastures, seeing sunrise and sunset, sound of birds instead of honking. Anyhoo, perhaps it’s my definition of quality of life and luxury that has changed. I don’t know if I’ll ever attain any of the above. But it’s definitely a thought in my head.”

In response, a user with the X handle Marendra Nodi reacted with a lengthy comment:

“I have lived and studied abroad. Today is day 11. Let’s talk on Day 60 when you have washed your own clothes for the 100th time, vacuumed the carpet, separated out your garbage into 2 separate bags and are maintaining your lawn as per homeowners association and filling your own petrol at the pump. Or are you renting – in which case you will swallow all the racist comments about how Indians are difficult to rent to because they stink up the houses with their curry smell and hang their chaddis out in public instead of using the dryer, just for some clean air.

And getting a mobile phone connection can be more expensive for you because you have no credit history in the US. You have to love those $50/month for 2 year cellphone contracts.

Hopefully you like beef and pork because when you want to eat vegetables – they will look so gorgeous and shiny in that grocery store and be absolutely tasteless. The same goes for chicken – which is artificially fattened up with antibiotics and has zero taste. And somehow high fructose corn syrup magically gets into all good even if it’s meant to be savoury. But hey – the air is clean.

The other fun realization is that nothing is priced at the price that’s written on it because there’s no such thing as an MRP in America. So after you paid 9.99 for your “good deal” don’t forget to add in the taxes and pay the 10.62 it actually comes to. And if you go to a coffee shop or a restaurant – don’t forget to add an extra 20% for the optional tip. Fun times.

And let’s not pretend about being able to “walk to the market”. If you live in a suburb, you have no choice but to drive to whatever it is you want to get to. The sheer loneliness of it drives most Indians crazy in the end.

The real fun will happen if god forbid you have to see a doctor for something someday. You will then be surprised that nobody comes home to do your blood test and you can’t just schedule an MRI tomorrow. The cost will be another fun factor.

Then if you plan on raising your kids here – please do be prepared for their gender transition by age 13 and their hatred for their Indian roots as well. Remember that you laid the foundation for it on ‘day 11’. Sorry if any of this ‘triggers’ you.”

The post and its comment section have attracted a variety of reactions from users. Some supported Niharikaa’s observations, emphasizing the benefits of basic amenities and personal safety. One user commented, “So vacuuming your own floor, doing your own garden, getting your own groceries, washing your own clothes is a punishment. The key word here is OWN. Never seen a more useless reply, btw I have lived in Netherlands and what she says is 100% true.”

Another user highlighted the ongoing exodus of wealthy individuals from India: “In every year more than thousands of millionaires leave India. If everything is fine in India, why are these people shifting abroad.”

Others criticized both sides of the debate. One comment read: “Not day 11 or Day 60. Peace of mind is blown to smithereens on Day -1900 preparing to get work visa and spending every waking or sleeping minute in terror of 100 year GC waitlist. Clean air and electricity and all those nice roads went to get oil.”

A different perspective was shared by another user: “It just takes one mass shooting to change the opinion on clean air. My friends are still afraid to send their kids to school in US. That constant fear for life will always be there with clean air.”

Healthcare also became a topic of discussion. A doctor commented, “What about healthcare..as a doctor I have heard ridiculous things..long waits for appointments even for simple ailments..here you could just walk into a clinic.”

Another user pointed out the challenges of living in India: “Tried renting in India? Or learned how adulterated our food and medicines are? Dealt with corruption for getting anything done? Even beyond these the self-censorship? Why is doing your own laundry or dishes such a task? Most world does it.”

What are your thoughts on the India vs. USA debate? Let us know in the comments section below.

Cover photo courtesy: Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi / X.

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1 comment

Sandoor Raja July 13, 2024 at 9:23 pm

If you belong to the reservation category in India, then life may be better for you in India than in the USA. If you belong to the non reservation category in India and at the same time come from middle class families who live paycheck to paycheck, then USA is definitely the place to live. If you are coming from the economically rich classes of India , depending on how rich, you could have homes both in the US and India. Lastly if you’re extremely intelligent then America will reward you 100 fold for your brain’s worth, which may not be the case in India where corruption and casteism may work against you. Crab mentality of people surrounding you will pull you down.

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