(This is the thread I wrote in November that got QT’ed by Balaji Srinivasan and later that got QT’ed by the Prime Minister of our country.)

Balaji is still India’s biggest cheerleader who doesn’t live in India.

If he lived here, he would have seen a woman with her baby girl electrocuted because she stepped on a live wire (imagine how many more people would have died if it had rained that day), goons stopping people late at night in Sarjapur, getting stuck in the traffic during the floods.

Got stuck every morning trying to get to work (maybe a global problem though). Heard about break-ins in Indiranagar.

All of this just this month.

I know of more people moving to the US from India than in, despite a weak US job market.

Here is what I told a friend yesterday, before people ask why I am still here.

I could have easily moved to, say, Singapore. This is why I did not:

I like being in India despite all the problems.

  • All (or most) of my friends are here
  • Deep in my heart I have a feeling that I will be lonely outside.
  • (Apart from air quality, water and other issues) My quality of life is good. But if you are living in a rich (forgive me for calling myself that) techbro bubble, do not bubble, don’t read the news too much, stay near the office, get a flat in a society with amenities, then you save a lot of time that you can use to do things you enjoy. Yeah, I live in a bubble.
  • I don’t like driving. So a move to the US is not an option. That leaves Europe or South-East Asia. They have good public transport or cheaper ride hailing. I can even get a driver here. But I don’t go out much, so I’ve never needed one.
  • I love being able to go out and have a idly sambhar whenever I want to. Idly sambhar after running in the morning tastes even better. Yes, you can say that you can get idly sambhar anywhere. Just as you can say that you can get good North Indian food in Bangalore. But let us just accept it: It is simply not the case.
  • Also, my house in Singapore would have been as big as the room in my house here where I have my gym. And I would have paid five times more than I’m paying to rent it. I know this because many of my friends have moved to Singapore over recent years.
  • I have access to all kinds of services here in India. And I save a lot of time.
  • At this point in time, I would optimise on saving time more than anything else. And the fact that I can afford a maid, the services of Urban Company and Instamart on a daily basis is the best hack for me to be able to do all the things I want to do in life.

Of course, there are a lot more reasons. But I am going to stop here.

Deep down, I know that all these reasons are probably a result of my upbringing here and my unwillingness to move out of my comfort zone. If I wasn’t born in India, let’s say I was white and born in California: Would I have moved to Bangalore? Probably not.

I would not have cared so much about idly sambhar. My taste in food would have been very different. And I would be used to doing my own work. I wouldn’t be dependent on cheap labour (just a fact). Maybe I would be more concerned about the quality of the air and the water and other things that people in the US take for granted.

One way to answer whether Bangalore is a global city that attracts the best talent is to ask a random white person working in Tech in Berlin and ask, given a choice: equivalent quality of life in the U.S./let’s say New York vs. Bangalore, where would they move? We already know their response.

(This thread became viral on Twitter, and I saw people QT’ing it heavily. A lot of NRIs jumped on the ‘India is the future’ bandwagon. So I wrote a follow up thread. Sharing it below.)

I have had a lot of people DM me QT’s from NRI folks. People who are cheering us on from the sidelines. Sitting in the US and telling us how good we have it here in India.

If it is India’s decade, you should all move back right?

Why would you miss out on the insane career growth and the quality of life by not being here?

Reply to their tweet and ask them why they are not here if you see someone rooting for us from the sidelines. There are talkers. There are doers. Most of the people here are talkers. They’re not walking the walk. If you were to move back and grind it out here, create a billion dollar company, employ tens of thousands of people and contribute to our GDP, I would have massive respect for you. But you won’t. You will keep cheering us on. Mukesh Bansal came back. He started Myntra. SriHarsha could have gone out. But he started Swiggy. Bhavesh stayed back. He is grinding for a decade. None of these people are cheering us on from the US as they post pictures of their Thanksgiving dinner.

I work for the South East Asia market, but I pay over 35% income tax and 18% GST here.

And the people cheering from the US are bigger patriots? Just because they use chatgpt to generate in/acc pictures? Since a few people have DM’d me asking what’s wrong with people cheering us on even if they don’t live here, here’s my answer: I don’t control what people can do here. I can call out their hypocrisy in acting morally superior to those of us who choose to stay here, just as they are free to post Midwit memes.

One of the best role models here is Vembu. I think. Regardless of what you think of his political leanings, the man walks the talk and runs a huge tech company from a village in TN. That means his words carry a lot more weight, even if you disagree. Yes, even I don’t agree with everything he says. But Zoho is an inspiration to us all and one of the best examples of walking the talk instead of cheering from the sidelines.