Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Andhra's New Capital?

I was down at the NASA center in Houston, Texas. (Obviously, in the public area). And guess what the first words I heard there were. Behen Chod! And a little while later, all I could hear were Entira Babu and Alage. I never really believed that there were so many Indians in America. But this little field trip into the heart of the US of A was proof of the fact that the Indian infestation here was not only complete, but all-pervasive.

For in the space station, there were more saris than shorts and more bindis than Tatoos. The space center resembled not a symbol of American prowess in science and technology - but a Hindu temple. People speaking in some Indian language or the other: but usually Telugu.

Such is the case not only in Houston - but even in the serene town of college station - which houses, yet again a sizable proportion of Indians (who are students here at A&M). Like me. Hindi expletives are more likely to be encountered on the road than English expletives. As a matter of fact, I've heard more Hindi expletives than English!

Almost 20% of the instructors here are Indian: and more than 25% of the graduate students (especially in Engineering) are Indian. Some of the biggest names here an Indian: deans, professors, professionals, you name it! And almost all the convenience store clerks (who peddle porn!) are of south Asian Origin. All pervasive indeed.

Perhaps, when they decide to change the captial of Andhra Pradesh, they could think of a city in Texas. Perhaps Houston.

I've begun to realize that brain drain from India is as real as you and me. But surely, it cannot be emotion that stops people from leaving India. Emotion can be overcome - I know, because I did it. Human selfishness does it. But in the future, things will be different. After all, if prosperity can be had in India, why would anyone want to come here! Certainly not the climate, India (especially Nasik where my parents are) is a gazillion times better. Brain drain will stop only if the excessive government controls stop in India.

Take this for instance. When we complain about low internet speeds in IIT, the Dean says "You're here to study!". When we try to organize some relief work (for, say, and earthquake), they shout at us. But here: they have internet connections even in classrooms. Access to labs is easy. And yahoo messenger (an enemy of Indian authorities) is pre-installed. Class rooms are air conditioned.

Overcoming the emotional barrier to working seems all the more easy - given the excessive controls in India. As a matter of face, it often is a frustration with Indian red tape (I've posted about that before!) that leads people away from India.

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