India or abroad?

Lately I have been in an apocalyptic mood. Watching the scenario in Political, Social India I feel depressed, wondering why such an optimistic story (about a nation called India) has suddenly, gone sour, fraught with negative sentiments? It is times such as current – when the economy is not galloping ahead, when inflation is at an all-time high, when scams seem to crawl out of the woodwork with no reprieve, when hallowed Institutions like the Armed forces and Judiciary seem under a cloud, when the young seem vacant and goalless, when the value system seems nonexistent and beaten severely…I shrivel up inside, too afraid to live in India…  

On the heels of such an apocalyptic mood, the thought of living elsewhere makes the brain hyper active.

My thinking

# We are an emotive people. We like to spend time with family. It is this same family (who at times we want to run away from) that gives us a sense of calm, a feeling of belonging, a deep sense of being wanted and loved  

# We are used to our festivals, customs and holidays. Sure, celebrating Xmas and Eid is fun, but not engaging directly in the rituals of Ganesh Chaturthi, Mahashivratri or Gokul Ashtami  - makes me feel detached, rootless, wasted

#  It can be argued that by living abroad one learns new cultures, foreign languages…Then again I say, look at my country, do I even know all the various distinct languages, cultures, and people of India? Such diversity right here in my backyard, why abandon it  to seek it elsewhere?

# Varieties help create and transform. Absorb the rich diversity of this land we are born in, the ease with which we live the pluralism called India. Which other nation, even remotely, promises such a rich texture of existence?

# The weather. It is next to impossible for someone like me to adapt to a land which is dull, grey, and rainy, with little or no sunshine. I don’t like extreme climates. India affords me bright sunshine, balmy days, cool evenings, 4 seasons of the calendar in the right doses!

# Immigrants are regarded with suspicion, no matter how rich or poor, in foreign countries. It is a social problem and we all know the fall out of such ailments (hostility, racism)  

# Perhaps one shouldn’t over obsess over other’s opinions about India - obsessing over contrarian opinions won’t make our opinion any more credible. But then again India and its fabric of life is like no other, right?. Why compare and be distraught?

# Look at our own behaviour in the most clinical way. One nation thinks sleeping with your child is a crime. Westerners think eating with your fingers is uncool. Another nation distrusts us in every aspect of our entrepreneurial qualities. Lets face it, we are an idiosyncratic nation. Will we be able to do all of what we do inside India, elsewhere, in the outside world?

# And last but not the least - If you are remotely even fond of India, I don’t think you need to think about living elsewhere. Stay put, enjoy your life, improve things in your immediate life, give the world more reasons to look at us.

For now this reasoning will see me through and keep me happy, In India


Ambadi said...

Home is home- no matter what!

The most amazing ability of Indians is to remain happy and smiling even in worst situations.

Our positives are much more than our negatives even though our media prefers to sell negative stories!

We may have a bad government- but at least we are sure that we can vote it out in time, if that is what majority of us wants!

Reasons can go on... Glad you arrived at the right decision :)

Dinesh said...

Lady, India Is The Best.

Travelling overseas when we interact with other cultures, it brings to light certain Realities of Life which make one realize:

Blessed are the People of India; God has been really kind - Safer from Natural Calamities compared to other countries; A sense of care and belonging; fun and joy to the hilt; united for a cause; helping hands without expectations; friends you can swear by and more.

No Matter What, You Always Win ! Get going; look forward to a Better India in Some Time.

Growing and Learning to withstand the Mighty; India will Improve; the Journey Has Just Begun !!!!!!!!!

Anon said...

Incredible India :PP alwaysssss


Dr. Sohrab Arora said...

The decision to fly away is taken at a stage of life which according to me is perfect to take that decision! (money is not the number one factor at that age)
For me, that stage was in the last couple of years of my MBBS and immediately after my MBBS when i was doing my internship. All of us interns were faced with a (very) tough PG entrance exam (due to the limited seats in India) or the (arguably much easier) USMLE where the IMG seats are mostly bagged by indians.

At that stage, i must confess i was too busy preparing for the PG entrance to think about flying away. Still, the thought did cross my mind.

The ones Who chose the MLE profusely dissed the Education system, the healthcare system, and everything that was "indian". Even after fully knowing the demerits of our system, I stayed on, along with the brightest in our class. Maybe due to all the reasons you mentioned, or due to the fact that our brains couldnt take any lateral thinking.

Some of us who stayed got the PG seats of our choice, while some didnt. Some took govt. jobs, some took diplomas. Some were left high and dry, at the mercy of the system.

While in the US, the people who dissed the system in India, were dissing the system there too. The brightest ones got surgery residencies and went to Mayo clinics and Clevelands, the not so bright ones got lesser centres, and some got less desired branches like psychiatry and family medicine. Some were left high and dry, at the mercy of the system, which couldnt be explained by their grades (the discrimination is rampant).

5 years on, the one uniformity I noticed was that,
the dissatisfied ones remained dissatisfied in India, as well as the US.
The happy ones remained happy in India as well as the US. they had found the positives in whatever place they chose to stay.
The brightest ones got rewards and good quality of life irrespective of their place of settlement.
The shortcut finders were stuck to grapple with the system. They ran to and fro but couldnt get anywhere in the end.

Its important to look for positives wherever u stay. And work hard. The flight to US is not a shortcut. Nor is India a paradise. You have to earn it wherever you are.

weisel said...

guess if i can sum up ur article wud say tht it is this same pluralism which is so engulfing in a way,its like u have to catagorize it for urself and see where u fit in.
having said tht yes it is very difficult to manage things out coz, on one side there r all these multinational's nd on the other is the work force which is catering is ur own people. HOW DO U CHANGE THEIR PHCYCHI IS THE BIG QUEsTION!! one has to improve on that so as to see that the alieantion is reduced for people who look at a quality of life wt u get abroad, will take lot's of time!!!!
till then enjoy the contradictions:( :)

john said...

No place like home> Of course there are merits to living outside the country too. All finally boils down to priorities and goals.

This is not a simple unidimensional question - i.e to Live in India or Abroad? It is multi layered, it is complex, it is not easy

For as much as is going or not going for India to its advantage, there is that much going or not going for the places you may consider as the place for you to immigrate to.

I can only say one thing in submission - basis the priority of the goals, don't take a view on which, do a mapping across a 5, 10, 20 year horizon and then conclude

I see lot many friends ( from HK, Singapore) returning back to their countries...though not many Indians returning back yet.

Anon said...

In some ways you are right but ---if you ask me, is it time to leave India? I would say, yes a long time ago itself (for myself) - given a good chance, I'd go.

Its not that I personally feel India is bad but its just not my type.

Warm regards

sagar said...

Most of the reasons, why I, post MBBS decided to stay put in my country,despite lots of my relative takin the USMLE route,have been aptly penned by the author.

I stayed down South in my country for couple of years and was aghast how those people can give lots of festivals celebrated by the North part of the country a complete miss. Yes our surroundings affect our morale and decisions a lot. So staying away from my own people and spending the rest of my life trying to sell myself as a freind or a neighbour to people in an alien land has definitely not been my cup of tea.

I have relatives in USA whose second generation of daughters n sons prefer to live the American way,n why not. But the decisions of daughters to stay unmarried n keep dogs n cats as company definitely hasn't gone down well with them,despite years of cultural adaptation.

My brother has recently,1year,migrated to USA and none of the above arguements dissuade him from being the fanboy of Uncle Sam. He is very very happy with his posh home,big car and all the big comforts that a developed country has to offer. The emotional disconnect brought on by the distance is a lot of trauma to me,even though he feels there has hardly been any difference in our bonding be it Banglore or USA.

My final take on this issue is that,its a matter of personal choice n individual outlook towards society n self gratification. Those who choose to go abroad may be no less sons,brothers,sisters or friends,however they choose to have different goals in life which need sacrifices,and who are we to judge right or wrong,but they themselves.

Aijaz Ahmed Pitafi said...

And she lives happily ever after :)

Aijaz Ahmed Pitafi said...

And she lives happily ever after :)

Giribala said...

Great!! We should think positively about where ever we live :-)

Destination Infinity said...

I feel that living in India is same as living abroad. There are good things and bad things about every place. I second the comment made by Dr Sohrab Arora.

Destination Infinity

urbanchai said...

My two cents, life isnt a bed of roses no matter where you live, India or otherwise. You gotta make it work, gotta have the will to live. Its all about the right attitude. And of course, to each his own!

sheila said...

The angst, when daily routine work has to suffer, you are absolutely forgiven, if you ask is living in India worth the pain. You have to plead to get regular chores done, when daily help who is treated as family ups and leaves for a few rupees more without so much as a conversation, when daily life moves only with the promise of money and oiling of hands, when daily life commuting is a battle of sweaty bodies and saving your own life from cat fights or foot-boards, when daily life is about a struggle which is so unnecessary, one does question the merits of living in India. I am not even addressing the mountains of hurdles of dealing with govt institutions yet, or bigger jobs that we may need to address over time. Its the daily rankles and sour surliness, with truckloads of meanness and attitude that one is not willing to put up with.

This is only going to get worse in India. You need to have a very strong reserve of patience and a thick skin to boot, to forgive everyone, everyday.

gita said...

Very nice post Mee. Captures the angst most of us face today. Not a rosy picture here. But then its not a rosy picture elsewhere too. Gotta make the most of what we have here - thr can be much going eventually for India. Plus this is home:)

sagar said...

Very well written Sheila,this is what exactly bothers us all too,despite years of commendable growth we are seriously lagging in basic living facilites.
Clashes over religion caste corruption make me shudder even more


Mee said...

@Ambadi: always the voice of sanity:)

@Dinesh: Indeed its this optimism which is by far most infectious:))

@Vandy - yes:))

@Dr Sohrab Arora: Yes absolutely. Existence is a battle. And valiantly one needs to keep moving fwd:)

@Weisel -Indeed it is sometimes the exact same pluralism that we are so proud of, that creates friction and dissatisfaction. My sense of this is, do your bit in improving your own life, touch the lives around you in a manner they are impacted to improve to, and by this mushrooming effect hopefully over time, we will have a shining India

@John:You make a valid point. I too knw mny friends returning back to UK, USA. Perhaps these are ppl who now want their families to see their own countries, given best education facilities etc?

@UG - by "type" do yu mean too traditional, orthodox and such?

@Sagar: It does pain me equally to realize that even amongst our own countrymen we see so many fissions and divisions. Unfortunate but true. Then again- how does Bbay bcome such a melting pot? Why do ppl in Bbay merge and adopt each others festivals and rituals and cultures? Why is it not replicable in ro India?

By choosing to live abroad and not in India, for sure - its a personal choice, given priorities and goals. Does that mean abdicating relationships? duties? responsibilities? Perhaps to some extent...given some other loftier goals....but eventually in the long run...I think its the same relationships, rituals, belonging - one yearns for, and then thinks of coming back. But perhaps realizes that alienation has happened....u say it right, it is ofcos about personal choices:))

@Aijaz :))))))

@Gribala - nice to c u again. Yes, indeed:)

@Destination Infinity: TY for visiting my blog. Sure.

@urbanchai- completely agree:)) thx for swinging by!

@sheila - I hear you. and totally empathise. Daily life is indeed a test everyday. Some friends have actually upped and gone from India to ensure btr quality of daily existence. I feel we are in the throes of a boil right now, something will give, has to give...I just hope we adopt sincere values sooner than later

@Gita - this indeed is home. Worth our time to improve it as much as possible:))

Dipak Kumar Bhattacharyua said...

Capital can choose where it wants to stay but man can not! I'm happy where I am Get feed back from writer / blogger like you. It's good one praise worthy piece.

Mee said...

@Dipak -lovely as always seeing you here. Many thx for your compliments. What I rpobly do thru this blog in words, you do it thru beautiful images on a far more frequent basis...compelling arguments for why India:))