People move for various reasons… whats yours?
Good question Ruchi.
I for one, was thinking about moving back because of two main reasons.
1. Immigration - The struggle to get in to a “green card” status or “citizenship” is way too much with very less trade offs currently. I might be skewed in thinking here but, waiting years together while living with an “alien” tag on you is kind of annoying. I’m not trying to devalue the American Dream of those who already made it. But personally, I think it is not anymore a “carrot” worth pursuing. This is my opinion and I totally understand why others would think otherwise.
2. Political -
I’ve always wanted to return to India and never wanted a complete swap. But I had imagined it perhaps several years from now. But the political updates got me thinking to fast forward it. Of course, nothing bad has happened at least officially. But I don’t feel the warmth anymore. Of course, this is purely personal. Now add to it, the activities in India, whether nascent or not, there are many updates happening politically and otherwise which in my opinion is putting out a clear message and a better future to India. I for some reason, would want to be part of it and contribute to the society in whichever insignificant way I can.
I could be wrong, but most NRIs I talk to (and it’s a very small sample size) have the dream of going back to India and doing something big investing their own talent and experience (which they’ve gathered from abroad mostly). Just that, no body was thinking hard about it until recently.
At the end of the day, when I go to bed, I feel lost. Questions pop up to which I don’t have any proper answers. Questions like…
- Do you really belong here? Are you being appreciated for being here?
- Am I being selfish for my future? If yes, what is the trade off? If not, what am I actually accomplishing? Is it worth betting my future?
- Are you chasing something that isn’t there?
- Wouldn’t you be investing your talent and experience where it will be appreciated and nurtured?
Now, one can argue that I might be going through the “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome. But no. I’m not saying that the answer to these questions is returning back to India. I know that it’s going to be a struggle back home, I know that I’ll lose my luxuries, I know that I’ll have to try hard to be appreciated.
But hey, if I have to go through struggles anyways, I’d rather do it back home where my roots are and not feel like an “alien”. I would be satisfied even when I’m not appreciated. Because, it’s my home.
I’m sure you can see the bias in my answers. But hey, I’m biased not for my selfish future, but my home and people.
I’m here since 2014 and I agree with Karthik. Before you actually get the green card (depending on a lot of factors), you have to go through this visa cycle and it’s genuinely exhausting. My wife is qualified than me and has a better degree (Shame on me) and she is here just because we want to be together.
Personally we did face few unwelcoming instances after Trump became President (nothing severe) but it questioned everything. Now, staying here and fight is an option if you already have GreenCard or Citizenship. For those who don’t, it’s just a mess to deal with besides our own immigration problems.
Apart from all the technical reasons like immigration, I always wanted to return back someday. Why?
Even after building my own world here for years, the feeling of being an outsider never let me accept it as home. Belonging to a place I spend my entire life in, is important to me.
Contributing to home land
I always dreamed of contributing to India’s education sector in ways I could after coming here. After trying multiple NGOs, I failed to find ways that would give satisfaction and not just “on paper” contribution. There aren’t many channels through which NRIs can actively participate in India’s growth in different social sectors apart from contributing financially or volunteering for organizations to collect funds. Especially in education sector, NGOs ask for longtime onsite commitments which is hard for us to adhere to.
Every year I go home my parents look older than they were last year.They are getting close to the time they probably need me to be around more than they ever did. I know this is a given and me staying there won’t help that stop anyway. But atleast in case of emergency it won’t take me 20 hour long journey,endless immigration lines and jetlag to see them.
India’s corporate scene
Speaking for software industry in India, since that’s all I care about, I don’t think there is anything to be scared of. There are plenty of jobs and startup game is getting better with time too. There are lot of opportunities if one is eligible to grab, right from huge multinationals to exciting startups with new ideas.
At the end of it, life is too short for regrets. Hits and misses will always be there. Its all about what is more important to you. I asked myself one simple question: when on death bed, what will i regret the most? Not going home and contributing to place I come from, when I could or not buying that great expensive car and a huge house in north east suburbs? The answer was clear
Couldn’t agree with Tanvi more.
Nicely listed down and I’m glad you did. Weighing both sides, at the end of the day, it’s inclined to home.
I’d like to think long term here. Short term there might be immediate benefits being in the US, monetary, professional and otherwise but long term, there are more losses. Family, belonging, identity is all going to be misses.
A gleaming beam of hope though (different from earlier years perhaps) is that India is looking bright to the future. This is a blessing for our generation. Why not make use of it?
Having said that, I agree that priorities and perspectives are different for people and not everyone share the same values in life.
I am moving back to India in 7 days from Australia.
Reasons for this include a sense of loneliness, career opportunities and family back home.
All the best with your move Andrea. Let us know how it went and if you need any help.