My strong belief is that - R2I is not much different from preparing for an exam. For the most part if you don't perform well, it is *your* fault. You can come back and say that the question paper was tough or you made a silly mistake or you didnt have time. Its your fault. You screwed up. You failed. Outside rare events where something outside your control happened (someone died, car accident, etc) - the reason for poor performance can be boiled down to the fact that you didn't anticipate what the exam was all about and did not prepare very well. Or you failed to continue to fight everyday life challenges the way other people living in India do. My disappointment with the article was that the author was shifting the blame on an intangible 3rd party.
Returning To India is in general difficult because people don't see it as an exam and don't prepare well enough and fail most basic challenges thrown at them. They sort of have an attitude of 'Its my country. I can wing it'. The following are reasons why I think people say this or fail in the R2I efforts:
1. Returning with a pre-conceived notion of what their experience is going to be. One that is suitably colored due to nostalgia.
2. Returning and expecting special treatment as a result of being NRIs. Going to India on vacation is not the same as going there on a permanent job. Not knowing this makes a person's humility setting as very low. There was a time in 80s when someone who had been to Singapore for a week would put scene for 6 months and people would listen to him with mouth wide-open. The concept of 'foreign return' lost its sheen in the late 90s. And people who R2I have trouble being treated as normal people. They are unable to resist the urge to do running commentary on Indians as if the people living "there" were lab rats. So when you hear some one say 'I cant adjust 'there', cant live with 'them' etc'. The first instinct one feels upon hearing this is - what do you mean "them"? You are "them". What is all this drama about "me" vs "them". While there are logical reasons why one would like to think of non-NRIs as different - the first gut reaction in any person's mind is that it sounds supercilious when an Indian refers to other Indians as "them". I feel that way mostly because *I* mean to be supercilious when I use it that way. So the first suspicion I would have is that the person is trying to put scene and show that they are better people by virtue of staying abroad.
3. Most people I have talked to - fail in their return plans for reasons like "paying electricity bills is such a hassle, they ask for bribes, they are changing me to a corrupt person, traffic problems are too much, people are rude at work". Almost all these reasons are cliched and have been said several times before. The most cliched reason being 'I have changed as a person' and so wont fit there.
All the above only means that you didn't prepare well and so you failed the exam. Running a ball-by-ball commentary on every experience you have once your return is a sure-shot recipe for disaster. Not knowing about the way people pay electricity bills in India or whether you changed as a person - is your fault. Making a choice to come back, preparing poorly at that and putting blame on some vague intangible stuff is just bad. Putting on the garb of 'I want to change the world' as an excuse to criticize everything under the sun - smacks of arrogance and just hides the real problem even more.
There is also another angle to this. When people say they aborted their r2I effort and give above reasons - the 'real' reason lies somewhere among the below two points
1. Wife came back and couldnt get along well with her in-laws. She hates the concept of moving from an isolated environment to one where there s family all the time and everywhere. The complaint noise has increased.
2. Career progress isn't working out and dude is getting screwed at work.
If everything is going well - you never notice the environmental variables. they are just things you have to 'adjust' to. If family and career get screwed up - you are searching for things to blame. I have seen many articles by NRIs that refuses to admit *the person's own* failure and explains it away as some sort of a problem that India has. They blame the failure on some external thing that they had no control over. I usually dont react to them. The reason why I took exception to the specific article that I linked was because the bar was too low. The reason seemed ridiculously silly and trivial.
Now there are many kinds of exams. You can ask a grown-up person to appear for an IIT-JEE exam and if they fail, its understandable. Thats a tough exam. But if you ask them to appear for 2nd standard Math exam and they fail - one should be allowed to say without hiding behind subjectivity that failing addition subtraction type questions is a shame.
I cant imagine the Mungee dude and his wife having a conversation that goes "Honey.. I am treating my maid badly. This country has made me a bad person. boo hoo. I don't want to be this person. Let us go back to USA". At a practical level - I don't see a person changing his life for such a trivial, negligible reason. Losing a few bucks here and there due to someone duping you has been happening since my grandparent's days. I remember my grand mother's mom telling me stories on how her maid duped her of Rs 10. This is the most common form of duping ever. These things are like paying tax. Pay it and get on with life. If you choose to become rude as a result of life experiences - then that is the kind of person you are. Live with that. If you choose to ignore it, continue to be a nice guy and think that in 5% of the cases you will be duped but in 95% of cases you will be all right - then that is the kind of person you truly are. The key thing is - if you decide to enter a jungle then fight like an animal there. Don't compare every single experience to a hypothetical situation of "this wouldn't happen if I were in a zoo or in a different jungle". You are where you are. Deal with it. If you cant - accept it was your fault and go back. Don't shift the blame.
Writing that kind of maudlin and weakling type article that Mungee has written only happens if you received money to propagate someone's narrative.