What Really Matters

August 15, 2010
Sandeep Varry

It was 4 in the morning and my phone beeped, I rubbed my eyes to check that its a text from my friend displaying the US dollar has gone up. I threw the phone back and slept. The next day on my way to the office, I was busy making numbers to check how much could I transfer to India to take advantage of the exchange rate.

After reaching the office as I was about to open the money transfer website I suddenly remembered the debate last night we had over dinner. A few of my Desi roommates, friends and I were arguing over the hypocrisy of Desis living abroad. One group was hypothesizing that Desi's are the reason for worldwide increase in respect for India and its skilled workers while the other group was claiming the contradictory i.e Desi's abroad were highly hypocritical and we bring down the respect which people back home are building with their hard work.

The second group in fact had very strong points to support their argument, they pointed out "we Desi's keep prompting that our coming abroad and transferring funds back to country helps increase the overall country's development and money inflow while at the same time are always wishing the dollar to go strong so that they can send more money home", "and not only that" they continued "we here are so concerned about abiding by laws and keep talking about rules and taxes and how efficiently the government here is while when we are back home have no respect for law, taxes and always have the 'inefficient and corrupt government' punchline to back us up for our acts".

The first group shot back in defense "the only reason that we want the dollar to go strong is that we can clear our loans fast and more money goes to maintain our families who depend on us, plus in case the dollar really goes down we will still be happy that our country is developing and about being law-abiding, we are sure that if the laws were enforced as efficiently in India as here we would be the first ones to abide by them."

The argument continued on similar terms and examples for quite some time until we realized that it was too late and were off to bed. The debate continued in my head while I was trying to sleep and made me wonder if the Desi's abroad are really hypocritical in the sense that they do want their country to develop at the same time want to make sure that the development doesn't come at their cost. But is it rational on our path to not want to pay taxes properly, demand high exchange rates and still wish the country to develop? Aren't we a key contributor in the country's growth? These were some of the many questions which kept me tangled. All of a sudden I realized the message on my screen prompting that my session had expired and I needed to re-login to make the transaction.

As I made the transaction I was still unsettled by the fact that is this money that I am sending back home making me a contributor in the country's growth or am I a selfish person as I am sending it at this time taking advantage of my country's weak currency value against the dollar?

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