Monday, October 27, 2008

America Me Aisa Kya Hai?

Genre: Life

Ever since I made public my plan to go to USA next year for my higher studies, I have been bombarded with queries on my reasons for the same. Before the next round of "America me aisa kya hai jo India me nahi?" is fired, let me clarify my position. My reasons for MS in US can be divided into three broad categories-

1) Educational-
Justify Full
The campus placements that begun a couple of months back have been a real eye-opener. Whatever little faith I had in the education I received at VJTI came undone during the interviews- it finally dawned upon me (and a lot of others too) that the four years that we pretended to be studying engineering was actually a royal waste of time! Even after scoring 8 and 9 pointers in exams, what I have actually LEARNED is practically nil. And it is not because I ignored studying and spent the time partying. I did what everyone else does- blindly copy assignments from the class nerd at the eleventh hour before submissions, pretend to "perform" experiments on non-functional appartus and run out of the lab at the earliest and cram up a dozen xeroxes a week before exams and vomit it out on the answer paper. No wonder then that the companies coming for placement offered us salaries lesser than a call-centre job- as if trying to remind us again how useless and unprepared we are.

It is my own fault that I did not write all my assignments on my own and did not bother performing experiments seriously, right? Maybe yes. Maybe no. After all, the education system here has been such that year after year students have adapted themselves to working this way simply because the system (atleast in my college) gives no credit for practicals, the emphasis is only on submitting assignments on the specified date and time and not on the content in them and out-of-the-box answers in exams get a ZERO because the professor wants answers only from a specific textbook.

Moving out of this grind, higher education in USA will give me an opportunity to study what I want to, and not what some so-called panel of educationists pre-decide for me. Access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, learned faculty alongwith liberal funding from the government for education and research will help in developing the intellectual skills to survive in the cutting-edge industry- something which I should have acquired in my four years of undergraduate studies itself. (Ofcourse, if Indian universities did take education as seriously as USA does, I would have never thought of moving out).

2) Political-

It is a well-known fact that the education system in India has gone to the dogs after certain Delhi-based donkeys (known as politicians) began to use it for vested interests. The introduction of caste-based reservations in institutes of higher education has had a two-fold effect- firstly it has made getting into premier institues highly impossible for the unfortunate Open category boys like me and even if by a stroke of luck I manage to get into one, the presence of half class-ful of students looking as confused as a kid in a strip club deteriorates the intellectual atmosphere in the class. If this sounds haughty, let me clarify that I am NOT insulting students who are lesser intelligent but I have observed from my personal experience at Agrawal Classes and VJTI how being in a class of students with similar intellect levels stimulates healthy competition and the desire to succeed. On the other hand, in a class with mixed-breed population, the intelligent students have to sit through dumbed-down lectures while the not-so-bright students suffer from inferiority complex and end up screwing their own lives. The result- everybody suffers.

As if this is not enough, caste-based reservation for faculty proved to be the final coffin in India's higher ednucation system. Studying for four years under professors who cannot write two sentences in grammatically correct English or cannot distinguish between a website and an email is enough. I cannot bear this bullshit anymore.

The universities in United States of America will provide me with the intellectual environment that I am yearning for- a place where merit is honoured, education is valued and politics kept firmly outside the iron doors of the colleges.

3) Financial-

Like it or hate it. You can't ignore it. A graduate degree from USA is access to big money. The $1=Rs 50 exchange rate makes the equation all the more lucrative. A typical graduate fresher from a US university starts with a pay package of anywhere between $65,000 to $85,000 per year. Subtracting the living costs which come to around $25,000 per year, it still amounts to a savings of close to $50,000 a year- yeah, Rs 25 lakhs! Even If I work in USA for just three years, I would have managed to gather enough moolah to return to India and be able to buy a decent house and a luxury car for myself, if not more. Lucrative, na?

And for all those who are thinking of starting preaching me on stuff like "Money is not everything etc etc", please dont even bother. Why make it known to everyone that you are working for peanuts?! :P

All said and done, I am not one of those blinded-by-American-way-of-life teenagers who wants to shift to USA lock, stock and barrel. After completing my studies and gathering some moolah, I will be back here- to enjoy the vada-pao and local trains, and probably light up an electric bulb a la SRK in Swades!


  1. I cant agree more with u...i myself had asked u the question few weeks back and u had said that u will write a blog...and this blog is really an eye opener...
    Engg. studies in India are really in the doledrums...i am also like u when it comes to copying assignments and journals...i dont remember writing any of my journals on my own...i have to take xeroxes to the tune of 600bucks before the xamz and cram this respect USofA is much better...atleast practical based approach is there rather than cramming...and we r not the only ones to be blamed...some of the professors in the India University systems dont deserve it..just by taking a PhD doesn'tmake u a good prof and half of them are like that...
    As far as the exchange rate goes...i beg to differ..rupee me again start appreciating in a few days;-)


  3. hey dude,nice blog.But I want to tell that I rarely take journals and assignments written by other people.Mai mera journal + assignments khud likhta hoon.Baki class mera chapti hai!!

  4. Couldnt agree with you more man.. what you said is true indeed. Our educational system (ok maybe if you leave out the IITs) is bullsh!t, and of course classroom atmosphere to matters a lot.
    i respect your decision to come back to India.. of nothing makes you do that, I guess atleast IR will :p

    All the besty bro.. have a nice time and DONT forget to blawg!

    When are you leaving??

  5. @Abhishek

    Hmmm.. so it means the epidemic of Screwed-up-education-system has spread all over India!

    Dude, you actually spend 600 bucks on xeroxes? Sheesh.. I am better off- this sem I spent Rs 192 ONLY!

    About exchange rates, I am so much praying for rupee to appreciate RIGHT NOW so that I can pay my fees with a less deeper hole in my pocket!

  6. @Ranjith

    Nice post on your blog but I seriously cannot fathom why you pasted the link here!

    What's the connection?

  7. @Sriram

    Good to see you here even after your RSA with CET gulped up a lot of your time!

    About the reasons to come back to India, ofcourse IR is one- a detailed post on that is to follow soon.

    Btw, I am leaving tomorrow morning.

    Ok, no kidding- I am very much here till August next year. Just wrote this NOW because friends/foes/uncles/aunties of all sorts were bombarding me with "Why do you want to go to America" questions on a daily basis.. so just thought I would clear the air.

  8. @Apoorva

    Aah! So I have one reader atleast who belongs to the OTHER minority- the "Common Source"

    Keep up the good work. Ek din tum Bahut upar jaaoge (lekin vaapas neeche kaise aaoge?)

  9. This is a nice blog. I quite liked reading this article too. I do realize that the higher education system in our country is a mess and somehow people like you do get fixated due to its completely rigid prospects. In contrast, the US offers a much better and flexible curriculum that one can make the most of. I just am not sure of the returns you'd get in the US as compared to India. Sure the salaries may be comparatively higher in terms of exchange rate, but the current scenario here is terrible so you may want to reconsider. People are working for peanuts just to get a secured job. More people are being sacked day in and especially those with sponsored visas (typically us H1b! are the target). Government is not issuing any more work visas than there currently are so that is a major concern for a lot of non-citizens out here.

    There are Two kinds of people who come to the US with a view of education: one who genuinely study, work hard and move back or move the money back and the Others who stay back. If your idea of returning to India (to have vada pav which I soooo misss at this time as I type!!) is genuinely inspired by those who do move back then trust me, its the best way to enjoy this country - make the most of it, learn the max and then return to the roots.

  10. @Destiny's Child

    make the most of it, learn the max and then return to the roots.

    You summed up my thoughts in one line!

    Btw, nice to see you visit my blog. Do drop in often.

  11. "All said and done, I am not one of those blinded-by-American-way-of-life teenagers who wants to shift to USA lock, stock and barrel. After completing my studies and gathering some moolah, I will be back here- to enjoy the vada-pao and local trains, and probably light up an electric bulb a la SRK in Swades!"

    I bet 100% that you wont return here at all!! -Anuj Budhkar. Thats what my brother was saying 5 years ago.

    And v wont need to be SRK's in Swades to light bulbs, do we? Someone like Aamir Khan in Lagaan (or rang de basanti) can also do the work.

  12. I bet 100% that you wont return here at all!! -Anuj Budhkar. Thats what my brother was saying 5 years ago.

    I am not your brother, dude!


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