Nine (plus one) ways of identifying a US-returned techie in India

CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY writes: On dull weekends, Rajeshwari and I indulge in an engaging pastime. In hotels, parks, supermarkets… we eavesdrop on idle banter.

Our score is high when it comes to identifying the quintessential US returned techie.
Here are 10 telltale signs:

1) As if suffering from acute dehydration he constantly swills from a mineral water bottle.

2) The chap uses words like leverage, alignment, strategic, synergy, macro picture, framework, data driven, ping, off line, validate, awesome…while recounting a visit to the nearby amusement park with his 7-year old.

3) Perks up and practices ‘effective listening’ the minute there is any reference to real estate. This is almost always followed by the inevitable question… “Is there any land available in Mysore or Gorakhpur?’’ depending on his geographic affinity

4) It’s a sure give away when he dwells on subjects that no longer captivate the average Indian mind: traffic congestion, pollution and, oh yeah!, India’s corrupt politicians.

5) This guy keeps looking into his fancy handheld like as if it is a divine compass guiding him through India’s sweaty pell-mell.

6) He sports the latest model of New Balance sneakers, fresh import from dust-free San Jose. This would be most likely given away to a cousin or a friend disdainfully when grime and soot begin to give it that unacceptable desi character.

7) If he has a ‘sensibility’ and has spent his early days in Mysore or Bangalore, his conversation invariably drifts to his abiding passion: old Kannada songs and movies discovered after painstakingly trawling the Internet. He holds forth with the zest of a historian.

8) Suspiciously eyes every morsel of food that comes his way and insists on “pickin up data’’ on the source of each ingredient that goes into the food… It’s another thing that he was brought up on this fare during his early days

9) The accent betrays the mindset: it oscillates from the West Coast to Rajajinagar and rests tentatively somewhere in between. Friends back home say that he talks and… well… in certain angles resembles the rakish Antonio Banderas. Hmm.

10) This one is for Churumuri readers to say…

37 Responses to “Nine (plus one) ways of identifying a US-returned techie in India”

  1. ದೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ Says:

    An US returned Andhrite ..

    1.Men ->Sneakers on a Formal Pant and a Out Shirt ( Not tucked in ) .

    2. andhra Girl/Lady from USA -> Foreign Muthaydhe-> Lond Braided Hair->Small Battu on Forehead-> White Formal mens shirt with Double JEBU(Pocket) -> Folded Dhogle( Loose Fit) Jeans – > Fakes american accent -uses in between ‘ATLA KAADU’..”BAAGUNDI’..’AOUNA’ > usually from CHIcago,Jersey( New jersey) .

  2. ದೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ Says:

    US returned Kannadiga….

    Bloody fellow never speaks KANNADA ( Nanna amele Churumuri readers bittu ) .
    Talks to Kids in English ONLY ( Ivanajji )

  3. ದೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ Says:

    US returned Tamilian ..

    1. Vibhothi/Naama on Forehead …
    2. Only Talks in TAMIL ….Atrocious dressing sense wears Pink,Yellow,BRIGHT RED polo Shirts and a Blue jeans ( Nothing else )

  4. ದೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ Says:

    Any MaLayaaLi …

    Mallu from US is again a Mallu ..wears Lungi and Disco Chappli ( Flip Flop )
    in Native place .
    While Coming out of YAARPORT ..carries TV , VACCUM CLEANER , MICROWAVE,COMFORTER SET ( dunno why he needs in ernakulam )

    Can be found picking fresh fish at regular market couple of days later .

  5. ದೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ Says:

    Dheerendra Gopal from US .

    DG : Lo yenla visya..Yengavllaa ninna Dove .Magane basru Gisru maadbitta yenu??
    Other Guy :AdhirlaNNa …Neenu yelli yeradhu ?
    DG : Yaakla .
    Other Guy : Mathe america yinda bandhange yilla? Ange ortaagi maathadthya?
    DG : ley yennange yirbeku ?? …naanu Adhe Mudde , Soppin saaru thinnadhu….neenu adhe allva…yennen aythla vythyaasaa….
    Hosa yaav Picture noddhe heelu?????

  6. NRIKannadiga Says:

    I don’t agree with those comments. Not all Kannadigas are same. It all depends on individuals. By the way making fun of NRIs is not good. NRIs are backbone of Indian economy.

  7. sisya Says:

    “DG : Lo yenla visya..Yengavllaa ninna Dove .Magane basru Gisru maadbitta yenu??”

    other guy: lO.. neenEn america hOg baMdyO kalaasipaaLyakke hOg baMdyO? :D

  8. Saravanan Says:

    Nowadays Churumuri is getting stale. Common guys bring back old Churumuri.

  9. silkboard Says:

    Good one. I fit a few of these like a T :) Some more.

    – Frowns at the fashion sense of present day youngsters.

    – Drives an automatic (Santro or City)

    – Blogs

    – Reads Times of India

  10. vinay Says:

    To add some more to the list ;

    1. Using a stroller for the kid, from malls to the bumpiest of roads
    2. Waiting for a guy to cross the road without honking or not even trying to run him over
    3. Adding ketchup for dosa and idlys ( testimony to his spouse cooking ability.. )
    4. reading newspaper online when u have a printed one at home
    5. buying frozen vegetables ??

  11. Vijay Says:

    I shouldn’t be writing this up.. but I figure since I returned 10 years ago.. I have been adequately domesticated.

    Good ones Vinay…

    1. A pouch around the waist (for passports.. US passports) and/or a haversack (to carry valuable items like god knows what).

    2. Wearing sandals with socks (too much dust you see)

    3. Comments like “You guys really need to do something about the traffic and the infrastructure..” or “Education system going to daags”…

  12. northface Says:

    another take on indians in india ….(sent to me by my ammrican friend)

    You know you are Indian when..

    * When you tell your parents you got 98%, and they ask you what happened to the other two percent.
    * There is a sale on any item, you buy 100 of them.
    * You make tea in a saucepan.
    * You never buy bin bags, but use your saved grocery bags for it.
    * You put your clothes in suitcases instead of wardrobes.
    * You have a ‘Singer Brother’ sewing machine at home.
    * Your mother has a minor disagreement with her sister and doesn’t talk to her for ten years.
    * You call an older person you’ve never met before “uncle”.
    * You hide everything from your parents.
    * Your mother does everything for you if you are male.
    * You do all the housework and cooking if you are female.
    * Your relatives alone could populate a small city.
    * Everyone is a family friend.
    * Everyone always called you for help on homework.
    * You study law, medicine or engineering at university.
    * You were thick so you studied computer science or business instead.
    * You know no one who has studied music.
    * You went to a university as far away from home as possible.
    * You still came back home to live with your parents after you had finished.
    * Your best friend got married at the age of 18.
    * You eat onions with everything.
    * You use chilli sauce instead of tomato ketchup.
    * You fight over who pays the dinner bill.
    * You say you hate Indian films/songs but secretly watch/hear them
    * You avoid public places when with a member of the opposite sex, especially if there is an acquaintance within a 250 miles radius.
    * You always say “open the light” instead of “turn the light on”.
    * You secure your baggage with a rope.
    * You’re walking out of customs with your trolley at the airport and you see all twenty-five members of your family who have come to pick you up.
    * You get very upset when airlines refuse to accept your luggage which is just 80 lbs. overweight.
    * You go back to your parents’ country and people treat you like a member of the royal family.
    * You ask your dad a simple question and he tells you story of how he had to walk miles barefoot just to get to school.
    * You are ALWAYS taking off and putting on your shoes wherever you go
    * When you were little you always wondered why your English friends waited until after breakfast to brush their teeth when you did it first thing in the morning
    * To your English friends, oil is used purely for cooking and not as a grooming aid

    * Your parents have nicknames but only because people they work with just stop when trying to read their names
    * You have annoying nicknames like Chotu or Chicku
    * Your parents call all your friends “Beta” (son/daughter)
    * Your mother measures wealth in gold and diamonds
    * Your parents drink 3 cups of tea a day
    * Your parents compare you to all of their friends’ kids.
    * At least once a week your mom says, “I want to go to India”
    * No one ever seems to call ahead of time to say they are coming over for a visit.
    * Your parents worry what other people will think if you’re not going to be a doctor/ engineer.
    * You’re parent’s always say while shopping abroad, “It’s cheaper in India”

    And finally……..You know you’re Indian when…………………

    You forward this message to all your Indian friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    Don’t forget to send it to your parents!

  13. rk Says:

    How could you forget this? Everything is converted to ‘Dollar’ when these guys speak.
    Eg 1: It just costs a DOLLAR to go to MG Road in an Aato.
    Eg 2: You can eat a Masale Dose, Poori Palya and have finely brewed Coffee….all for just a DOLLAR!….while all these in the US costs hell-laaat-aaf money.

    ““Education system going to daags”… lol….too good.

    Good list Vinay.

  14. Ranga Says:

    When I was working in the USA-Midwest in late 1969, I was the only brown guy in my town and people would stop me and ask me where I came from etc… In the same town, I hear ( I do not live there /in USA any more) there are dime a dozen Indians and the people know where they came from., and many think that they have taken their jobs by taking lower salaries. What is the big deal about USA returned techies? In 1960s , we could only go to USA if we got assistantship which meant that we needed good academic grades, should have gone to good schools etc.. Now a days I have seen students who were considerarted as ‘inadequate’ by universities in India land in USA, thanks to the dollars support they get from their relatives. Please remember not all of them are good. They may talk with a slang, eat beef ( even those coming from the strictest vegetarian families) and assume superior airs. Just ignore them.

  15. vinay Says:

    Dear Ranga Sir ,

    The whole article and the comments was wrt to people returning back home after a stint in US , unknowingly I might tend to do the same when I return to blore/mysore.

    Do you mean that people should ignore me just because i do something thats become a second nature to me as a result of being here ( USA) for quite a long time.

  16. Nishu Chaudhry Says:

    Very thought provoking article and the comments are even better. Though I haven’t seen much of such NRI’s yet whatever little exposure I had… wasn’t kinda…soothing. USA walas do have an air of arrogance around them. That might come from their superior living standards or inferior self concept (No offences meant). A self concept which can easily be challenged by scintillating infrastructure and crispy dollars.

  17. Ranga Says:

    I was referring only those who spent a few years, whatever that means in USA and was throwing some light how most of them did get there. There is no room for arrogance when they return. About second nature: what does this mean in nitty gritty terms? No one ignores any one, particularly the techies who do not exhibit the 9 symptoms indicated.

  18. CX Says:

    As a US returned techie;

    4. Definitely yes!! I also talk endlessly about corrupt and power hungry politicians back in the US. Pollution, lack of civil sense…don’t even get me started on this!!

    8. Maybe.

    10. Talk endlessly about how Indians talk without factual information and are quick to stereotype. As proof I offer most of the telltale signs compiled above :-)


  19. vinay Says:


    As much as we shout from the roof tops abt indian values and culture , there are many things that we can learn from the west …the punctuality , demarcation of home and professional life , following rules …

    it would be our arrogance if we dont inculcate those into our life irrespective of where we stay/reside..

    and my riposte was wrt to ur sentence ‘What is the big deal about USA returned techies?’….

  20. Mohan Says:

    hmm. I don’t look at Churumuri for a week and suddenly it has sprung back to life with debates on NRI’s, Mysore etc. Good post Chetan.

  21. Concerned Mysorean Says:

    Its not just US returned techies alone-even those who havent have staryed talking that way,because thats the tuth.No point in blaming others.Do you disagree with their views[most,atleast].Be honest

  22. Concerned Mysorean Says:

    Its not just US returned techies alone-even those who havent have started talking that way,because thats the truth.No point in blaming others.Do you disagree with their views[most,atleast].Lets be honest and straightforward and call a spade a spade!

  23. I love NRIs Says:

    Vinay – You are absolutely right. We need you in the USA where you belong most.

  24. apoorva84 Says:

    nice stuff….have a look at my blog. i have written 12 ways of identifying a typical muslim.

  25. apoorva Says:

    have alook at my blog….i have written something similar.12 ways of identifying a mullah

  26. prabhakara Says:

    someone wrote “nri’s are backbone of indian economy”.please.
    nri’s are just cheap laborer’s working for low wages in the usa.

  27. ದೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ Says:

    Prabhakara..neevenu Ganandhaari kithhaakthirodhu??

  28. imahotgal Says:

    I agree with prabhakara- we NRIs are just coolies- but isnt that the case with most of urban middle class resident india

  29. Anand Says:

    Speak for yourself. YOU are a coolie, probably. I am a manager at a US company IN the US and I have several whites reporting to me.
    In fact nobody is a coolie.
    The first posting of this blog was in very good taste. I congratulate Chetan Krishnaswamy. Though I am an NRI, I never felt offended. Some times we need to laugh at ourselves. We Indians need to improve on this (including many other things).

  30. Anand Says:

    I request the churmuri moderator to remove ‘apoorva”s blog on Muslims/Mullahs immdly. No comments should be offensive to any religion.

  31. Paddy Says:

    Hilarious! Its my first visit to your blog and I absolutely love the characterization. Keep these posted to keep our senses right :)

  32. Durga Says:

    People are so touchy about the word ‘coolie’. From my research, it is very rarely a ‘brownie’ manager’s pay and perks in USA are as generous /equivalent to a ‘white’ manager. In that sense it is ‘coolie’ pay irrespective of who and how many are repoting. I have often observed that boasting about one’s position, naturalisation, etc.. by which an Indian attempts to move to another stratum is also an ‘Indian trait’.

  33. Sudha Raju Says:

    First comes the good words…Its a typical characterizations about Indi folks from Uncle Sam’s land…Very humorous.

    Irony being – We are sooo very Indian when we are in foreign lands and like to put on a foreigners mask when we are in India.

    Our need to ape westerners is a result of slave mentality that most of us still seem to carry with us. We consider everything foreign as better than us.

  34. CR Says:

    I like Chetan’s articles. It is full of punch and makes interesting reading. His views in it are absolutely correct. You could even add the point on – NRIs walk with a swing. It shows off the attitude – ofcourse not the good one.

  35. Aruna Says:

    Who is a techie?? writing few lines of code….
    having air that they awork in so called SW.

    Now a days Us is full of Indians , wo could be just duffers in India. Ever other person is a MS in US. people who could not pass properly through out their career , are in US.

    Gone are the days , when people with good academic background would only come here .

    The moment they land here only yeah, kool , yup…..
    These cannot even speak good english back home. some vocabulory just goes above their head.

    Indians can do anything for a few pennies……..AND AMERICANS CAN GET ANYHTING they want for anyne.

    In fact it is not only Indians , all Asians in fact behave as beggars in US , Dieing for each dollar.

  36. Shashank Says:

    Its Awesome.

  37. Prajwal Says:

    how about this…a few ways of identifying typical indians who have stayed always stayed in india…

    1. Always pick on NRIs. Say good about them one moment and the very next moment sneer at them for being NRI.

    2. Will always talk about the pay of an NRI without asking about the NRIs living expenses.

    3. (this is for the younger ones) Will try to ape watever “shtyle”(new jeans, hairdos accessories, high heel boots, lipsticks n wat not) appears on MTV and will pretend to act they are more desi than NRIs.

    4. will always complain how NRIs try to show off by following traffic rules but not once will they consider the thought of following traffic rules themselves

    5. will fight about how his/her mother tongue is supreme and all ppl who do not speak the concerned person’s mother tongue should be thrown out of the state/city. But will barely ever actually consider becoming a polyglot.

    6. Will also look for the latest cars and latest Nike shoes and will buy it as soon as personal economics allow, most of these cars/shoes / articles being non indian origin, and will still say the NRI is showing off. (santro is by hyundai which is korean, nike is US, adidas is german, audi and BMW n Merc(the latest hep rides in bengaluru) are german).

    7. Will bend rules in all possible ways to buy a piece of real estate and then claim that only the NRIs do it.

    8. instead of payin attention to solving a problem will come up with a tentative list of ppl upon whom the cause of the problem can be blamed and then makes this list and then wishes that our country was efficient/developed like the western countries where the NRIs reside!

    9. Will joke about how NRIs talk about corrupt politicians and bad roads while at the same time let a bunch of irresponsible ppl flaunt the public funds to make a trip to one of these developed “phoren countries” to study and learn from them(at least thats wat the ppl making these trips claim, like they have never heard of internet as means to discuss new technology and new methods)

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