Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A la Swades...?

As I recover from the sadness of leaving Rolla to begin my job life at Boston, sitting in the lounge of the food court at the Charlotte airport, I got a wonderful forward from Prasad directing me to take a peek at the IBNlive article composed by Sandeep Verma, an analyst at Lehmann Brothers. I did not need this article to set me thinking but it kind of gave me an idea of what all the desis here in US are thinking about returning back home.

One of the common topics of discussion in any forum "Are you returning back to India for good or not?" generally gets a lot of heads thinking, at least if it doesn't get them rolling. Even a die hard American fan desi who would want to settle here will think twice when you ask him this question. It is not easy to say yes to that question even if you know it is a no. The American dream is such that everything is so undecided - you don't have any idea how you are going to fare in your GRE, no idea whether you can get an admit, absolutely no clue as to how you are going to garner the funds for higher education, and no idea whether you will get the F1 visa, no idea at all whether you will receive funding from a certain professor, no idea whether your thesis can get completed on time and more importantly you have no idea how to get a job secured. If all these things work fine, you have the biggest headache to comply - how in the world will you time your H1B quota with your thesis and graduation? All in all, hundreds of difficulties to comply with. Once all these things are done and you look back in time, you do not have it to quit all these things and head back home. Come on, all of us are materialistic. Nobody is doing anything for free. The world wants to make money. Everybody wants to get into the rosy side of life. The thorny side is filled with frugalities. How are you going to break it? Getting accustomed to this way of life gives you a lot of possibilities to think about a comfortable future. As a student in US, one cannot make a lot of money and it is not as comfortable as what people in India think inspite of having funding and all other benefits. The air is filled with innumerable tensions that can be comprehended only by a fellow student in US. I still haven't experienced the job life here.

Coming to the basic point of going to India or not, it is not an easy decision to make as it is offset by a lot of factors. But in due course of time, it would be a real challenge to head back home, and live with family and friends, instead of just experiencing the sample visit every year (I still haven't experienced this!). It would require a lot of determination and will to know when you have to draw the line and head back home. It is one thing to be emotional and patriotic, and it is totally a different thing to defy the pragmatics. I am not saying that I am not heading back home, but only time will tell when I will be doing it. The economy back in India is booming and the Indian rupee is narrowing on the gap with the dollar. It might be bitter for the working professionals in US, but it gives me a lot of pride to know that the Indian economy is making waves big time. There is no point in harping on the growing value of rupee just because you are working here, when you know that it is going to bring solace to millions of people back home. At the end of the day, I am willing to take the strengthening of the rupee.

An important piece of information that I would like to convey is that, the farther we get away from home, the further it strengthens the bonds with India. India is a unique, unexplainable feeling. You don't need anything motivational to head back home. Go to the world map and have a look at the map of India, and you can experience the tears swelling up your eyes urging you to head straight back! Some things can just not be written, it has to be experienced!


  1. Good one GK. Everything well put. Been thinking of all these things for quite some time.
    And yeah, the decision to head back home surely take a lot of thinking and "courage".
    I'd love to write more, but i would wait for time and see how "Courageous" i am gonna be in next 2 years. IF all goes well, comments would be filled frm Swades. Else will call you and we can discuss more! :)

    Good job once again!

  2. Nithin: Lets see how things work out :-) Thanks for the comment!

  3. GK,
    Hi from RK.
    have been a silent reader here.
    this is one of my fav. blogs.

    loved reading this post.
    the last sentence says it all.

    take care and best wishes

  4. RK: Thanks a lot for the flattering comment and good to know that this is one of your fav blogs!

  5. this is my first time on this blog, and this post is excellent - i am sure that there are others who might have, but i, for sure, could not have written it any better! things are much different coming here as a student visa than on an h1.

    - s.b.

  6. SB: Thank you very much for visiting my blog. I am glad you liked it. So, what is your full name?