Dear Non-Resident Indian,
I meet and speak with many NRIs in India and during my travels abroad. One of the most common reasons given for not returning to India is the family how will the kids adjust, schools in India are tough to get into and overload the children with so much homework, there is so much pollution, and so on. To me, this is an excuse for not upsetting the status quo, to stay in the comfort zone. Life for most of you is nicely compartmentalised into 48-50 working weeks, with 2-4 weeks of an obligatory vacation in India so the kids can get a sense of Indian culture.
What we forget is that we too are products of Indias education system the same one we tend to criticise now. Yes, the Indian education system focuses less on the creative skills than on memorisation. Yes, Indian school kids have plenty of homework thrust upon them everyday. But that is what is making us what we are smart, diligent, intelligent, ready to adapt to any kind of situation. The lack of creative outlets at school have not prevented Indians from excelling in other walks of life. What matters is the academic discipline the Indian education system instills in us. We have gone through it, and there is no reason why the next generation should not go in for it.
So, the family argument is one which holds little water. It is an excuse to not make tough decisions. After all, when life is going along reasonably comfortably, why disrupt it? And so life goes on, and another year passes. The India visits serve little purpose because you come as tourists. The India you know is the India you left behind when you went abroad. And that India, unknown to you, has changed beyond recognition.
I lived abroad for four years, and returned to India a decade ago. For me, India is home. Whenever I travel abroad, there is always a feeling of temporariness, a lack of ones roots. One can always look at the negatives, but there are plenty of positives now to look forward to. And those are the ones you should focus on after eliminating the option of returning back to where you came from.
Family along with personal opportunities is in fact one of the primary reasons for returning back to India. There is a support system in India with the extended family, which is always there no questions asked, no obligations expected. For the kids, there is a love from doting grandparents, and uncles and aunts, and many other siblings. In India, skin colour is not used to discriminate. We are all one Indians.
Tomorrow: Alternatives and Next Steps