Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cheerful Indians

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 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?


Delirious in the Desert said...

I totally agree, it really amazes me that so many of them are smiley and content even though they make next to no money doing things we wouldn't even dream about!

It breaks my heart to know that they barely see their family...even twice a year is a lot better than some of the ones I have spoken to...try once every 2 :(

Anonymous said...

I agree that it has got to be extremely hard for them to be away from their families.

I hate to sound completely arrogant, but after going to India and seeing just how hard their lives are and the slums (and sometimes they don't even live in the slums, but on a street curb) perhaps they're really grateful for being able to feed/take care of their families, albeit miles and miles away from them.

Life is dang hard there for so many millions of them. HARD.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen what life can be like in India? That's the tragedy.

Anonymous said...

I beleive it is the strength of the character of Indian. Resilience shown has deep roots in culture of tolerance,ability to see life beyond money, showmanship and not having "holier than though" attitude. Even if you compare apples to apples, like similar lifestyles in India and here for both Indians and other nationalities, Indians will score higher.

Anonymous said...

Have you read Shantram? If not then grab yourself a copy and get an insight into life in India through the eyes of an expat.