What do we miss most after returning from USA to India

I returned from USA to India after living about 12 years in USA. In this post, I will discuss what do we miss most after returning to India.

The decision to return to India was not an easy one, considering we had great time in USA. We spent the best part of our life in USA and enjoyed life for about 12 years there. I will cover what do we miss after returning from USA to India.

We miss our friends

The Woodlands, the small town we lived most part of our US life was one of the best places to live in USA. Life was very cool and easy. We were living like Indians in USA, but still enjoyed the pool parties and grilling with beer & vine. We enjoyed the Fridays and Saturdays but spoiled most of our Sundays worrying about the Monday. We skipped lunch on Fridays (not really!) not only because of the beer party on Friday evening at office but also because of the heavy dinner awaiting us at the evenings.

Keep the food and drinks aside, there were a lot more we enjoyed in USA. I can't forget the great friends we had there. Since most of the Indians in our community were like us, without many relatives in the country. The feeling of 'having no relatives to help' makes everybody depend on friends for everything. Everyone was willing to offer help because no one knows when they will need help.

It is hard to find good friends. You can get any number of friends to talk, laugh and have fun together. But find the few whom you can trust and rely on are very hard. It is not the help you get from a friend, but it is the confidence that you can get help from him when you need, is what make a person a good friend!

Driving in USA vs India

Clean roads and low traffic is another factor we loved in USA, but we don't miss them much. I know it surprises many and I will talk more about it later.

In USA, we can buy any luxury car at an affordable price. A software engineer with decent earnings can afford a BMW in USA but not in India. In fact, any luxury in India comes at a premium. The price for a BMW is just 2-3 times the price of a medium range car. But in India, a BMW will cost about 10 times the price of a medium range car.

Cost for fuel is not a significant expense in USA and so people usually do not care about the fuel mileage for cars. But here, fuel is very expensive and is one of the deciding factor on choosing the car for most people.

Healthcare and Emergency Help

There are few things we liked in USA, especially the value for life factor. If you have an emergency, or if you just suspect you may have an emergency, you can call for help at the emergency phone number 911. In most part of USA, the help will arrive in few minutes.

We had to call 911 few times for various incidents. Once I had to call for help when my 2 year old son fell down from his battery scooter and closed his eyes for a second. Even though he was back to normal in few seconds, I was afraid he banged his head seriously on the floor and so decided to call for help. It took less than 2 minutes for an Ambulance and a Fire truck to arrive in front of our apartment. They took him to hospital and the emergency room was awaiting him when we reached with all required documentation already done while travelling to the hospital.

If the same happens in India, you can't expect an Ambulance to arrive in less than 15 minutes, that too only in Metro cities like Bangalore. During peak hours, it may take an hour or so reach hospital and valuable life may be lost during this time.

In my opinion, if you have a serious medical emergency, chances of getting timely medical help and saving the life is 10 times more in USA.

Now, another side of the American medical system is, it is highly expensive. All medical treatments are highly expensive. Most people are covered by insurance, but a good amount of your salary will go for medical insurance. Healthcare is not expensive in India (yet), thanks to the large number of not for profit hospitals in India operated by Christian organizations and various charity groups. My relative had an open heart surgery (bye-pass surgery) at a hospital in Kerala and the total cost was only about Rs 1 lakh (US$ 2100). A similar surgery in USA will cost about 50,000 US$.

American Education System vs Indian Education System

One of the primary reasons we returned to India was kids education. But we still miss a lot from USA. It may sound contradictory but we loved the easy education in USA but we returned to India for the system that we hate. There are several significant differences in American education system and Indian education system. Some of them are outlined below:

1. In USA, education is lot more fun. Kids enjoy going to school(atleast in lower grades). In India, you cannot find a single child who will say "I want to go to school today". Rather, they are all forced to go to school here.

2. Syllabus is very light in USA. In India, I usually carry the school bag for my kids up to the bus and even help them to load it to the school bus. While coming back, poor boy, he is his own. Typically, a 4th grade student in India learns what is taught in 6th grade in USA.

3. In America, Kids understand and practice what they learn. Learning is done through experiments. In India, whoever can learn by-heart and memorize wins. Creative thinking is not recognized. For example, my 3rd grade son failed to score any marks for the question "what is the purpose of computer?", even though he is good at computers and he knows a lot of uses of it. Reason was simple - he did not write the exact answer given in the text book.

4. Less work load for parents. In USA, we hardly had to worry about the home work and daily assignments. Teaching and learning is done at school and not at home. But here in India, kids come with a list of assignments everyday. Parents need to sit and help them to complete it on time or your child will be in trouble next day at school.

Stay home and get things done

In USA, everything is well organized and automated. Very less human interaction (bad!) but you can get most of your day to day life management done sitting in front of your computer. Money transfer, bill payments, new internet connection, hospital appointments, car servicing - everything can be done or booked online. If you make an appointment and visit a place, you can get things done in an estimated time. However, in India, it is difficult to plan more than one activity at a time since you have no clue when you will be able to complete it. I am not saying the system is perfect in USA and does not work in India at all. Generally, the system is much better and well organized in USA.

Many of those can be done without any efforts in India as well, but you pay for it. If you are rich, you can have servants or secretaries or even paid agents to get things done for you. Drivers will take your car for servicing and wait the whole day there while you relax at the air conditioned room at your home. Groceries and food will be delivered to your door step in big cities.


We miss a lot of things after we returned to India. But the good part is, we knew very well what are we going to miss and we don't regret. And the better part is, there are a lot more things we would have missed if we hadn't returned to India. Wait for my next blog on What is good in India that every NRI is missing.


Author: Ankit02 Nov 2011 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 4

Hello sir,
I am not agreed with all your points. You said very well about driving and health conditions in USA but all other points are somewhat contradictory to my thinking.
* You can find friends here too. Friends are such valuable assets of our life which we miss always when we are departed from them, whether it be USA or India.

* American education system vs Indian education system. I accept that education system in India is not the perfect one, but still it is much better than other European countries. There might be many drawbacks of this education system but this is the only system which provides many technical minds to the world. It provides many engineers, many doctors to the world.
This is the only reason that you will find Indians at every corner of the world.

* You get things done here at much cheaper rates and I think with quality too. Ya I agree that services are not much faster here but but provides many alternatives too.

These are only my thoughts. I do not criticize anyone's feelings.
Thanks and regards,
Ankit Sharma.

Guest Author: vineet23 Jun 2014

Schooling in India has always been better. I agree that it is more taxing but what could you expect with the population size in India. The taxing part creats champions. Let us not forget that it is this education which has made us excel in the States.



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