Tuesday, February 8, 2011
India Repatriate - to be or not to be? Or Why relocate to India?
I received an email from a blog reader who is currently pondering this question. As I finished reading her mail, I began to think back to my decision to move and how I would go about making my decision if it were now - that is, when I actually have first hand knowledge of what it is like to move back to home country.
It had always been my intention to move back to India but in my case, the timing sucked....however that's another story!
I never really had an answer to the question "why do you want to move back?" The reason being, there is no material reason to move back. Much as we would like to tout the progress India has made in recent years, it is still far from being the United States. It probably never will be...India is too tropical and too crowded to ever have the kind of space and resources that makes the US such a pleasant, easy place to live. Philosophically, we Indians are too relaxed, easy-going and fatalistic to constantly innovate, recreate and figure out the next best thing to improve our lives and our country at a rapid pace.
Living in the US, I not only had access to every single thing that I needed but was free to let my "wants" grow like weeds on steroids, fully secure in the knowledge that they would be gratified sooner or later! Living in an atmosphere where space, system and technology conspire to help you grow rapid and large it was easy to believe myself to be this bold, confident person who can make it anywhere in this world...and then I moved back to India, thinking, "so what if this is not exactly the right time in my life for relocating, I can make it work!"
India brought me down to earth with a nice big crash. Wading through my swampy first few months here, I cannot find words to describe how badly I regretted my decision and how many times I have spoken and still speak about moving back to the US. The question "Why did I move back?" haunted me endlessly until one day a few weeks ago, I realized that I will never really have an answer to that question...There is no answer to that question. I don't have reasons;
I am not here under the illusion that India is progressing and so this is the place to be.
I am not here under any delusion that my country needs me and I need to give back; whether I am here or not, whether I do something or not India will survive and move on. To put it another way, I need my country far more than my country needs me!!
If you ask me, I will say that I loved my American life better (and that despite being a totally stressed out mental health social worker for most of my life there!) than I love my life here.
If I did not have the option to move back and were forced to settle down permanently in the US, I would have happily made myself at home there for the most part. (Once upon a time, I would have thought that a traitorous attitude but not anymore. We are who we want ourselves to be and if you are born Indian but feel American and are happy being one, then so be it...all of us are human beings first and different nationalities next!)
However, would I have completely forgotten my country? No, somewhere, deep down, I would have continued to miss India and that emotion would have resurfaced from time to time, preventing me from resting content. And that is the only answer I have to the question, why I moved back to India. This is home, this is my heritage and ultimately, this is where I want to be.
Having said that, I will also say that I could have timed it better and prepared myself better for the move, in other words, I could have been a little smarter about it!