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Babies made-in-India - 1. Fertility & Contraception

For starters, a small overview of childbirth and culture(s) in India...


india,birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilizationAt the beginning, I felt a little guilty of bringing into the world one more Indian (1): they are already so many... And they breed like rabbits, I thought! But not so much actually! The rabbits have seriously been controlling themselves in the past two decades...


Think of this: Indian women had 2.5 children each in 2012 – which is far from the 4.5 children they had just 20 years ago! (2) In fact the current rate is getting dangerously close to the minimum rate of 2.1 children per woman below which, without immigration and after a gap of thirty years, the population begins to decline.


Moreover almost all Indians I know have decided to have only one child because they want to "provide the best" for him and it is damn expensive to raise a child, with the education fares and all.


So how have they managed to change the trend? To start with, Indians have a radical enough, although controversial (because not always chosen freely) method: sterilization. And they don’t do things half way: 37% of married women are sterilized (for 1% of men)! Sterilization represents thus more than two-thirds of contraceptive means – and only one out of two couples today use a child birth control method.


There is a real lack of information: only 15% of the Indians between 15 and 24 have received some kind of sexual education. Not surprising when you know that the conservative parties (like the one currently running the country, whose leader (the Prime Minister) is incidentally not married lives without a female companion) have banned it in some States seven years ago, because sexual education would “give ideas to the youth”!


Among the (relatively few) couples who use a method of contraception that is not sterilization, the pill is not popular at all, even in cities – so that when I mention the pill to friends, it is common that they don’t know much about it. However, the i-pill is taking off quite fast; thanks to good marketing campaigns, girls swallow it as candy, ignoring (or choosing to ignore) its side effects.


(1) But in reality, technically, the baby is French since Indians do not recognize dual citizenship and a European passport has its charms... And he will have a PIO/OCI card, some sort of lifelong visa allowing him to buy and all.


(2) For reference, the French women have 2.0 children, the Chinese 1.7, the British and the American 1.9.




(To be continued...)


An eyes' story

I had a moment of solitude at the Consulate the other day...India,eye,passport

For the preparation of my child's passport, I was asked (by mail) to "communicate the size and color of the eyes of the child”. I was flabbergasted... The size of the eyes??? But since I had heard that the eye is the only organ of the body that does not grow after birth (a urban legend* by the way), I thought “well, it’s possible that they are indeed asking for the size of the eyes”. I therefore answered the said mail asking how exactly the size of the eye can be measured. And I was answered "for the size, you must measure it and tell me how many cm it is”. Great help!!

 I therefore went to the Consulate without the required information. Without fail, my interlocutor got offended that I had not followed his instructions. When I asked, face-to-face this time around, how the size of the eye can be measured, he told me to use a ruler! I then asked to borrow his and undertook to measure the eye of the baby. He nearly fell backwards: "not the eye, the size of the child!" 

“Ah! Easy! 48 cm!” 

"Ah no, it won’t do. The system doesn’t accept below 50 cm..." 


* "For a normal child born at term, the maturation of the eyeballs is almost reached at the end of the first two years, that of the Central retinas at the end of the fourth year; the maturation of the myelin of the conduction pathways ends at the end of the first decade." Source:



French expatriation vs Indian expatriation

I have received this study (link) by Internations regarding expatriation; I am not sure what the data are worth but the results seem to make sense to me, hence the sharing!

India,France,expatriation,survey,InterNationsI know comparing India and France is like comparing apple and pears, but I am a French working in India so… I was curious to see the results of both countries!

In brief, people go to France for the quality of life and education (which is free).

And they go to India for the money.

Other than that, it seems as difficult to settle in and to work in both countries! In France the language is a problem whereas in India it is difficult to feel welcome – I must say Indians are very friendly and welcoming at first but sometimes, it feels like once they have satisfied their curiosity, they lose interest. You can do a better career in India (at least things go faster than in France) but the big winner in the work-life balance will definitely not be your life (the equation is pretty simple: difficult to socialise + well paid job with responsibilities = long hours at work)…


The study then gives a profile of Indian expats and French expats.

Indians tend to settle down in the host country (versus the ‘normal’ trend of changing country every 2-3 years). The French on the other hand tend to work in more countries than the average.


Indians speak several languages (80% speaking three or more languages) but mostly Indian ones and very few of them (34%) will learn the host country language – they generally relocate to English-speaking countries or in the Gulf (which has definitely more Indians than Arabs!). And they mostly mingle among each other (more than the average in fact). Despite a bad reputation at sucking at English, the French expat seem to know more languages than the average and they tend to learn the local language. But they mostly socialise among fellow countrymen as well…


86% of Indians are in a relationship with someone from their country, which is double the average:  Indians definitely don’t leave the mother land in the search for love… Whereas the French, ah the French… 67% of those in a relationship have a non-French partner.