American Dream/Desi Consulting

January 15, 2009

As the air hostess handed over the immigration forms, Rajat felt a daze from the blood rushing to his head. His dream was coming true, at last.

Ever since he had gotten into engineering and heard all those stories of Indians going to America to live out their american dream, he had had only one goal in life.

Rajat wanted to live in America. He wanted to bathe in american water. He wanted to eat american eggs and drink american milk. He wanted to work in America.

He got that golden chance two years into his job with one of the leading consulting firms. Once he lost out on that onsite opportunity, there was only one way out.

Rajat found a consultant who would file for his H1 visa. Once that came through, he would go to the US, and be assigned to work on a project for some fortune 500 client.

This was too good to be true. He paid $2000 towards the visa filing fee, and another $2000 as a deposit to the consultant, just as security that he wouldn’t chuck the consultant as soon as he landed on the hallowed shores.

Luck was on Rajat’s side. He got the visa.

With bravado unusual for him, he bragged about his plans to friends and colleagues, and virtually spit in the face of his supervisor while resigning his job.

He didn’t mind burning this bridge. He was never coming back.

You and your stupid Indian consulting business. I am a big game player now. I have wasted enough time working with morons. This is going to be the big break i need and deserve.


He had it all planned out. In a few years he would have made a bag full of money. Once he had enough (how much was enough was not clearly defined) he would find a nice Indian girl and get married. Soon they would buy a house with his stockpile of cash. The parents will come over. They will have a few kids, and a couple of cars. Life will be fun.

Bye Bye India.

He was ready to live the big life. He was ready to make the moolah. He was ready to conquer America.

The flight landed at JFK. The first gust of american air felt like magic on his stubbled face. Rajat was already in love.

Immigration, Customs, a huge and complicated airport, and four hours later, Rajat reached the address that the consultant had given him.

As he got off the cab in the shady Jersey City neighborhood, Rajat had a severe sense of foreboding. This did not seem like the America they showed in movies. This looked more like downtown chandni chowk.

The apartment. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms. Shared by six guys. There were people all over each other.

Ahh..what the hell. This must be busy season. This is just temporary accommodation for a few days.

The temporary phase eventually didn’t turn out to be that short term. Rajat stayed in the apartment for a month, and his co-inmates made him realize that he was not in the special place in life he thought he was.

Every year thousands like him got hired by those body shoppers and dumped in these dungeons till they became productive and started bringing in money for the consultant.

It was one big industry. There were the companies who needed to outsource work to consultants. Then there were primary vendors who were responsible for providing these people to the client companies. These primary vendors in turn got their people from secondary vendors, who could be getting people from another consultant, and so on.

It was one big messed up food chain and Rajat was at the very bottom. He was of no use to anybody till he got a client project, and with the dwindling economy, competition was tough and projects hard to come by.

There wasn’t going to be much dignity in this american dream. He would stay in this apartment with six other people for now, and live at the mercy of the consultant who had, by the way, kept his original papers, as added safety. They knew their game. Rajat wasn’t their first.

This was slave trade. The modern version.

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27 Responses to “ American Dream/Desi Consulting ”

  1. […] forms, Rajat felt the daze of blood rushing to his head. His dream was coming true, at last Original post var varsarray=[]; varsarray[0]=’10649′; if(!token) {var token=’0′} else {var […]

  2. Poonam on January 16, 2009 at 12:20 am

    This is a sad story, but how do people manage to hand over their original papers to a consultant?

    And you have portrayed the supercilious part of feelings very well.

  3. amreekandesi on January 17, 2009 at 1:47 am

    @Poonam - Thanks for the appreciation.

    People get trapped in this mess to varying levels. Some come out clean. Some just pay these deposits and visa filing fees (its illegal for the consultants to do this). The worst ones give in their certificates and other papers.

    Maybe out of desperation. Maybe out of naivety. It does happen.

  4. harsh on January 17, 2009 at 7:04 am

    That very much shows the real face of the current era of industrialization. All that glitters is certainly not gold .

  5. on January 17, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    American Dream/Desi Consulting…

    Rajat wanted to live in America. He wanted to bathe in american water. He wanted to eat american eggs and drink american milk. He wanted to work in America.

    This is his story….

  6. Dev on January 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Well, I have also read such stories, but none of many IT engineers I know personally and who have worked in the US, have gone through this. Besides, wasnt this crap happening only during late nineties till early 2000’s?

  7. Vijay on January 17, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    This is so true! I have many friends whose experiences with these body shoppers have been far from what they expected, and similar to what you describe.

    The consultants illtreat and underpay their consultants. They are paid much less than the going salary for their expertise.

  8. jai on January 18, 2009 at 2:25 am

    great and true man……!!! it still happenes….and it’s sad that H1 quota is being eaten by them..

  9. Vijay on January 18, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I went to the USA as a student (ages ago).. I remember the H1 types started arriving in droves in the late 80’s - early 90’s… still remember a couple of my college buddies being made to share an apartment with a married couple… and this company is today one of India’s premier ones…

    Good Post !!

  10. amit on January 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I think if you are working in a project in an Indian MNC and they send you abroad, then it works out fine. Otherwise, with the way you have mentioned, its messy.

  11. amreekandesi on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    @Harsh - Welcome to Amreekandesi! Yes, from afar all seems rosy, but things may not be all that great after all!

    @Dev - This crap is still happening. Maybe they dont make ten people share an apartment anymore, but the entire consulting business is plain ugly, and these consultants are paid much less than the salary they should be getting.

    @Vijay - Illtreat and Underpay. You pretty much summarised the sentiment ;)

    @jai - Thanks and welcome to Amreekandesi! The H1 quota is another story altogether.

    @Vijay - Things havent changed much since those days, maybe even got worse due to the increased numbers of people wanting to come to the US, and the restricted quota of visas.

    India’s ‘premier companies are among the worst offenders.

    @Amit - It works out fine in the sense that there is no insecurity. But again, the Indian companies would pay a fraction of the going rate and make you work like a dog.

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  13. Reema on January 22, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Very nicely portrayed.

  14. Dinesh on February 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    The worst thing is people fall for it. Who is to blame here? I think it is people’s decision, they have a choice to get into this or not get into this.

  15. amreekandesi on February 15, 2009 at 2:32 am

    @Reema - Thanks!

    @Dinesh - Its just an ugly system where people get abused for somebody else’s benefit. These people who get tricked may not know that this is what is going to happen..they come with stars in their eyes and then realize that it isnt so rosy after all.

  16. WhistleBlower on February 26, 2009 at 1:31 am

    What about the fact that these consultants are pulling off a scam by pushing these candidates by doctoring their resume. Everyone joining these consultancy know that they are going to be part of this elaborate scam of getting trained on weekends, create resume with false work experiences and give interviews over the phone with help from a support team. Even though these employees are a pawn in this scam run by these consulting companies, I believe the employees do share a blame in creating this environment of deceit and sham.

  17. Rahul on April 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    American Dream at the cost of Indian dream….The big India Dream…our Country and its citizen dreaming of!!!!…this is what i call Brain drain….i dont understand why people make such hue and cry about the quota system when especially all of these selfish IITIANS and IIAMS will leave our country finally to live their dreams!!!!!

  18. Shriniwas on April 23, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    @Whistleblower - you are absolutely right. Plus these consultants engage in faking phone interview by paying other smarter persons to take the interview for someone else. Also they are known to contact someone inside a big company who speaks same language and make them hire someone from their consultancy for a bribe in return. This is a big sham and they are spoiling the name of other hard working and honest Indians. Not to mention hard code regionalism where they are Telugu/Tamil First, Indian next. So much for the blood sacrificed by our forefathers for their freedom!

    No offense meant but Most of these consultants are from TN or AP. This year there have been only 44000 H1B petitions as these consultancies did not file fearing the Iowa style arrests by USCIS. Thank god they could not bribe the US officials, if that was a case then they would have done that too…

    These consultants have a bad modus operandi … The moment a project is over these H1B holders are not paid and are put in these pseudo jails 4-8 in a room. I know friends who were denied to keep Internet connection in their rooms (even if they paid for it). Still worse was the dreadful syndication of the owners of the consultancies (mostly in Chicago and NJ) where new projects were awarded only to the people who spoke same language :D (Telugu will get project first for Telugu and Tamil first to Tamil).

  19. amlistening on April 24, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    @Shriniwas thanks for sharing….and I thought visa filing was low because of recession!

  20. H1B Visa on May 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    100% agree to the article. But, this year due to lot of RFE’s on H1B, consultants are scared to apply for H1bB, even there are ways to benefit from his recession and less number of H1b Visa petitions.

  21. BusinessVisas on May 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve heard about the problems with H1B visa, maybe B1 visa is a temporary solution!

  22. Rajib on February 17, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Very interesting article. I have written a similar article on the topic that you may find interesting:

  23. James on February 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Don’t worry about brain drain my friends. I am an American born and bred, now living in India. India has reached the tipping point where the dream here is bigger than the reality in the US.

    Anyone who has lived there knows how much daily life costs, and how much time you spend working for it, how few friends you have (no, it wasnt cause you were Indian, it is just how America is), and how little time you spent with your family.

    I am here to make my life here. I am here to help India rush by the US as a superpower. Hopefully the Indian people will take such stewardship of the world and do a better job than the US did :)

    • American on April 12, 2011 at 3:41 am

      You are a looser

  24. dinesh on May 18, 2010 at 8:40 am

    well said .we need to learn lessons from your post and tell others to save themselves and their families.I appreciate your presentation.wish you all the best and good luck too.

  25. Ms in US on January 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Interesting but sad :(

  26. TheAnonycan on June 3, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Also mentionable is the fact that the desi consultant makes a fresh pass-out forcibly lie on his/her resume with 7 years fake experience on a popular platform to satisfy the US industry’s lust for experienced candidates.

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