Viewpoint – Why Scorn Delhi’s Expat Community?

The Delhi walla‘s pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls – Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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Expatty Paradise

A South Delhi expat makes a point.

[Text by Anonymous; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

I loved the Delhi Walla’s The Cost of Living piece which had haunting images of a woman beggar and her infant daughter; I wished it could have been longer.

In the article, The Delhi Walla mentions the millionaires but does not pass judgment on them (except tacitly). Instead, the expats come in for their usual lashing. He observes, “At least the expats have their dollars, euros and return tickets.”

Who are these ‘expats’? They are not a homogenous bunch. The difference, say, in earnings of an expat diplomat and an expat journalist is huge. But the difference is academic … wealth is wealth.

Nevertheless I think that The Delhi Walla has an image in his mind of what an expat is and nothing seems to change that. He seems to mention them with scorn.

I am an expat but I do not go to embassy parties. I have no dollars or euros or pounds. I have five kameez and three salwars. I have no chauffeur-driven car. I cook my own meals. A woman comes three times a week to clean and, I am sure, she is paid far beyond what the millionaires are paying.

Back in my home country, I support, either fully or partly, seven other people. By partly I mean that they rely on that money and would battle without it. I also send money to my mother and sister.

I am helping support a refugee from central Africa who helps other refugees. I send money to a Congolese refugee family who has a son with cerebral palsy. I help a Zimbabwean refugee and her two children.

In July, 2009, I paid the medical bills for a woman, here in Delhi, whose child had been born with a deformed limb. And also for a man who was injured in a motorbike accident. I also give frequent help to the chowkidar of our former flat.

All expats are not alike. I am lucky to live in this house because I got it at a good rent (cheaper than Greater Kailash!) and the company helps pay it. If I did not accept the rent money I could not retrieve it in cash.

Compared to others my lifestyle might be considered lavish but I do not shy away from giving. I have more access to credit than many others. I have good health and clean drinking water.

The challenge of The Cost of Living article is not who earns what but what people do with their money. What can you or I do to ease the burden of that woman in those pictures?

[The author lives in South Delhi]

What can you do for them?

The Cost of Living