I am an Indian. By birth and spirit. For 26 years I’ve been in India. So when I moved to Dubai, I hated it. I still do. But this post isnt about my tryst with DXB. Being an NRI for a considerable amount of time, I have been paying attention to the kind of lifestyle’s that most of them lead. I have even been having forced conversations with a few of them just to gather some facts before I roll the dice on this one. So this is not to offend any NRI but I just had to pen this down. ALso, my readers shouldnt think that all my posts from now on would be about m0mmyhood n diaper changing.
To start with, the NRI’s are just a bunch of normal people who live abroad . If you ask me, they can be split broadly into two distinct categories: The No Return to India and The Now Return to India.
The No Return is a unique breed of people. A species! Their uniqueness lies in the fact that they think they are the most fortunate people in this world. For them India is a third world country which is confined to those once-in-a-few-years visits for the sake of completing the formality of seeing their loved ones. Actually they’d rather bring their loved ones over to where they live. For them India is and will always be a chaotic, unhygienic and polluted place where they can’t live for a second without “Bisleri” and hand sanitizers. These are the same people who help to spread the word that India is still the land of urchins and snake charmers n an unhygenic place to survive. Having said this, they will never take the Indianness out of them because it will make them look out of sync with their identity.Anything to do with Indian “culture” needs to be imbibed. These people will encourage themselves and their offsprings to be more in sync with the country in which they RESIDE. More local friends than Indian friends, speak the local language with the “accent” etc.
The Now Return category constitutes a considerable proportion of people. They are actually in love with their homeland so much that they want to come back as soon as possible (or so they say!!) They enrol their kids in Indian international schools so that they are in line with the Indian schooling system. They make sure that the kids learn Carnatic music, dance, cricket, etc. For this bunch of guys, the Indianness factor imbibed within their families is not a formality but something that they yearn for immensely. They make sure that the children speak more in the native language and have more Indian friends. Stuck in the vicious cycle of money and social pressures, they are not able to break away from the social barriers to return back home. They go home at every bout of nostalgia and make sure to attend all social functions if possible!
So what is the big deal? The big deal is that despite their vast difference in approach to living.
The default thinking in most of the parents’ mindset is that since they have invested immensely in inculcating the “Indianness” in them, the children would in turn be the “goody goody” souls in the decisions they make in their adult life. While it is fair enough to argue that the Indianness inculcated would make the children more in sync with the Indian lifestyle, the fact of the matter is they are growing up in a completely different country. In today’s world, the social thinking of the younger generation is made up by the attitudes of their friends around them and not by the “default” tutorial classes of Indian culture. There is no point in the NRI parent living in a country for 20 years and then expecting the children to grow up the way “they want” and marry the person whom they think is good enough. Expectations such as marital affairs are a crucial part of the illusion that is confronting the NRIs. It is very crucial that they come to terms with the reality and set their priorities straight in life. If they feel their culture and their way of thinking needs to be followed, then they should pack off and head back home. In an era of blossoming growth back home in India, heading back home is an economically practical solution and if one throws away the obsession with the foreign social “status”, I do not see any hindrance in coming back. You cannot expect to have the cake and the cherry, can you? If one is interested in staying abroad, then one should be prepared and be ready for the consequences (irrespective of its merit) with regards to the choice made by their children. While it is a duty for the children to keep the family in confidence on such issues, the reality of life is that a majority of the younger generation rarely looks beyond the self while taking such decisions.
Essentially, the crux of the issue confronting all NRIs is the weight of expectation one thrusts on the younger generation and the illusion with which they subject themselves oblivious of the practical consequences of the choices that they have made in their lives.
Whether one is in the No Return or Now Return category, the NRIs need to confront issues head on rather than live in a illusion of their own!
Like I mentioned at the start, this is merely my view. I dont intend to hurt anybody nor their indianess. This post is an afterward of a conversation I struck with a family member here. So no hard feelings. And no matter how many eons I live abroad, my heart will always be Indian! They day I find out that the nation I live in is sucking out the INDianness in my child, I will go back to where I belong. My home, My India.