Have you ever wondered what makes so many of the Indian (and I really mean Indian in particular, even moreso then Pakistani, Nepalese, Bangladeshi..) laborers here so smiley? I've noticed it before, but it isn't until the last few days that it's really struck me. The Indian workers here at my new job (whether highly-educated professionals, chauffeurs, or toilet cleaners) are all invariably cheerful.
Why is that? Some of them get paid a generous salary that could easily support a family here in Muscat (the professionals) but the vast majority of them get paid pitance. Granted, it's more than they would likely get in their own country doing the same or even higher level work. But...they certainly aren't living in luxury.
I've spoken in particular to three Indians here at my work about their family situaion as well. One was a professional, one a transport driver, one a cleaner. All three of them have their spouse and children living back in India. They haven't seen them for months and maybe only see them twice a year if lucky. And yet, they are happy, and polite, and have genuine smiles spread across their faces.
I just spend the summer away from my fiance and that was hard enough....it is hard to imagine doing that with children added to the equation. Am I just spoiled? Having what I want when I want it? Do I have a higher standard of what is acceptable, in life-style and relationships? I don't know. But I also don't know how they do it.
I would be fascinated to read research about specific cultural influence on mood and life satisfaction levels. If I were in their place (and I think this goes for a lot of people), I would be miserable.
How do they stay happy?