The NRI quandary: Return or No Return

Posted on June 14, 2012


I was a NRI 18 months ago and returned to India with my family . With loads or patriotism , sentiments , optimism I transferred within my company’s India division.To some extent against my wife’s wishes  which required a lot of convincing and  100 % against my brother’s wishes I came back.

I told my wife we need to stay at least 3-5 years before we decide to stay on or move back.  The past 18 months have been tough, I have been on road quite a bit and I made a foolish mistake of accepting my company’s offer of shifting to Delhi first. To all r2I’ers (return to India), in case you do not belong to Delhi please do not start here. Right from basic electricity and water issues to daily servant issues with a generous topping of  being scammed by each and every person, life has been a struggle. The weather has never been helpful and safety in Delhi has been questionable. Rather than ranting more about Delhi(which i have done in my other post) I will concentrate on the actual problem that has been bothering me.

None of my above mentioned struggles are major . Thank god I haven’t faced anything major yet ( a medical emergency, emotional or a personal tragedy or any disaster) which would bring me face to face with a non-helping system and government. The fact is that I knew I was going to face the above mentioned problems as I have faced them earlier too for 23 years so shouldn’t I have been mentally prepared for the same. Or I didn’t want to be prepared and find these minor faults and look for a reason to be not happy and go back?

While in US I was never bothered by these minor issues.For me  it was like Prince Siddhartha in his palace , everything was hunky dory. And the day Siddhartha ventured out to see his city he got so affected by it  that it lead him to renounce everything to achieve the inner peace and become, the “Gautam Buddha” , and teach the same to the people.

Frankly speaking I get affected and bothered everyday now when I travel through my city looking at the troubles the whole of India is facing. And when I compare them to my miniscule problems I feel awful. I don’t have the guts to attempt to achieve inner peace or help the people like other NRIs did  (Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanch : from whom the movie Swades is inspired). I am just too selfish.

Me and my wife’s disappointments sometimes I feel are childish. They range from not being able to drive peacefully or not being able to afford a big house with a backyard and swimming pool. When most of the people cannot even afford a vehicle or a one bedroom apartment my demand seem pointless.  My achievements gave me pride and fulfillment in US but here in India with my achievements I am not able to afford something big nor give me the strength to do something good for somebody else which disappoints me more.

Things are not changing and I am not doing anything to change other than paying my taxes. I can think to buy an apartment in community which supports Green earth initiatives. I can vote for a good candidate and do my regular donations. But are these enough to change India.? Give me the peace that  I did something good ?

Today I am at crossroads.The next 18 months will test my resolve and let me know if the “risingbharat” tag I use is a burden or relief. Do I have the strength to stay on and make a change or run away back with tail between my legs? Will I be selfish and return back for my happiness or the sufferings of other people will grow some “balls” on me to do something worthwhile of my life by helping others?


Posted in: Opinions