Since childhood I never cherished any dreams of going abroad, instead always wanted to live in India. My search for a livelihood, like any other person, just out of the college, changed my perceptions on going abroad. It was in the year 2002 that the doors to a foreign nation had opened for me. My first pay made my eyes pop out (upon converting the currency, of course)
I also realized that with a white collar job in a foreign land one could earn quickly and pay off debts easily. My initial goal was just to stay for one year, amass some wealth and go back to India. As time passed, my ambitions started changing year after year and I started spreading my roots deeper into this foreign soil thus making my position much stronger.
Until you fly abroad you find life very nice and comfortable in the way you live, but once you get a taste of life abroad– you are out of that “frog in a well” situation and find it more interesting than ever.
As I introspect, I keep wondering if I will ever go back. One side pulls me towards my country of origin while the other side is so accustomed to western life style, it holds me back. A Catch-22 situation!
Returning to country indeed is a major decision, perhaps even tougher than to go abroad. There is no right or wrong here. After spending a few years abroad, we aim for “best of both worlds” which is difficult to find, in real life.
On one hand you have these factors compelling you to stay back abroad-
Value for money – Every penny earned is valuable abroad. In India a 100-rupee denomination is becoming almost worthless these days.
Free Life Style – You do not have any close relatives or neighbors pestering you with questions that are more personal in nature. Personal space is respected abroad more than in India.
Substantial Income - Similar effort put in a foreign country pays you 40x or 80x to what one gets in India. Once you get that taste of money, it’s hard to wean away from it.
Work culture – No slogging and no late hour work culture (to impress your bosses )
Value for Life – Life is valued far higher than anything else. The quality of life we lead is definitely better than that of India.
On the other hand there is a long list of good things back home in India that would tempt you to go home – people, relations, parents, food, cost of living, education, entertainment, advance medical treatments, growing economy, opportunities, weather, culture and of course, our roots.
I am convinced that all the Indians who are abroad are Non Returning Indians.
You may have a different opinion, but 8 out of 10 people who are abroad have firm plans to settle down there. They might not agree on the face of it, but their materialistic desires will force them to settle down. Will this ever change? May be….may be not.
Our growing economy could change this dimension and trigger a reverse brain drain. For now, we may have to just wait and watch.
Image Credit: Wonker