It would be safe to say that 90% of my friends are Desis. In all these years I’ve seen generations of Desi families/individuals depict peculiar behaviors which is considered pretty normal in the Desi community. But what’s considered purely innocent is considered annoying by non-desis. I got a hint of this when I started observing my fellow Desi friends with the help of an outsider’s perspective. When you live abroad, you start picking up the mannerisms and etiquettes but some Desi habits die hard.
Here are a few Desi habits that may seem annoying to others –
They only hang out with other Desis
Desi men and women who moved to the US, are generally found in the company of other Desis. Whether it’s a coffee break or office lunch you’ll always see a group of Desis hanging out, speaking in a language that’s considered code language. If you ask me, I don’t see anything wrong in wanting to hang out with the clan, taking a break from speaking English. But to an American, the perception is that Desis are not quite comfortable in a diverse group and have a tough time breaking out of their sacred groups.
They are reserved and don’t speak up
Especially in a work setting, Americans have keenly observed that Desis might be good at their core technical job but seriously lack soft skills. Desis are known to be mellow, soft-spoken and reserved at the workplace. They don’t interact with a lot of people and never feel the need to speak up when in a group or with their managers for that matter. Sometimes this behavior is mistaken for being aloof or considered as a private person. At times they could blame it on lack of confidence and general disdain.
They are savvy shoppers for life
Desis LOVE to shop when the dollar drops, when there’s a blowout sale or when you get BOGOs. If you see a Desi in deep thoughts at the shopping mall – they’re probably converting it to rupees to analyze if it’s really a good deal. The penny-pinching habit is hard to get rid of because we’re taught to SAVE. But you gotta give it to the Desis for making the most of their shopping with coupons and rebates and all that good stuff. They’ll shop at 5 different places for groceries because each place is offering a certain discount on a certain product and they don’t wanna miss out. Now that is a little annoying.
Lack of personal and dental hygiene
Americans spend both time, money and effort in making sure they look and feel presentable. They take really good care of themselves which includes smelling good, making sure they have a fresh breath, hair combed and nails done. Some Desi’s often overlook the little things that matter much. Being well-groomed is not a sign of vanity, it means you are self-aware and conscious of not being the oddball.
It’s not uncommon to see Americans calculating the tip before they sign off on their checks at restaurants. As a customer, you should tip a minimum of 14% for the services received in America. While Desis not only find the concept new but also perceive it unnecessary. Most new Desis in the US would stick to the minimum or under if they had to tip and honestly it’s a grand gesture according to them. While the receiver, on the other hand, has generalized Desis to be lousy tippers and it’s an open secret lol.
For those who are not familiar with the gesture, the head wobbling is a motion that is somewhere in between the up-and-down nod, and the sideways head shaking. So, it is like a rotational motion of the head – a light head shake combined with a head roll. Most Americans get confused if that was a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. This gesture is infamously termed as the Indian Head Wobble.
Are you doing it right now?