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Do Indians living in America want to go back to India?

As of 2019 November, my answer is No.

Reasons are as follows:

  1. Do not want to live in major indian cities. Both me and my husband are IT professionals. Which means back in India, the chances of getting job is majorly concentrated in bigger cities. And i do not wish to live in a big city. My ideal choice will be a smaller Tier-2 city but job opportunities are quite limited. Traffic is pretty bad, not to mention these cities are usully over-crowded and over-priced and too fast-paced and busy for my taste. I also do not trust the schools, daycare/nanny systems enough. But with longer working & commute hours, i will have no option but to depend on them.

  2. Social Pressure - a lot of unnecessarily social pressure is put on you when you are closer to relatives. For someone who enjoys the company it seems life fun but for someone like us, where a lot of social gatherings with extemded families/neighbors are more an obligation and not pleasure, it is no fun.

  3. The feeling of being watched - every action every word is being monitored and discussed amongst the social circle. This is especially a favorite pastime of the elders in the family. Unsolicited advices, irrelevant analysis of one's decisions and actions, being judged for what you do how you do.. It is constant concern. I'm not close to all of my relatives but the ones i am close to, really matter to me. Others are just because of my parents’ insistence. I oblige when i just have to do it for few days while on vacation but having to manage it constantly is a stress.

  4. Travelling and experiencing multiple cultures is an eye opening experience - 10 days of vacation in a different country will never give you the true sense of the life there. Exposing oneself to multiple cultures, languages, people is very enriching.

  5. Corruption - i have always had difficult time with how corrupted our people in power are. Even for the tiniest of the work, you cannot be sure if it will be done one time, without bribing, without references. Something as simple as applying for passport used to be a big challenge until recently. Im glad we are changing for good, but ia this pace enough.

  6. My parents were born and brought up in a tiny village in Kerala. My dad moved to a remote location in MP for his job when I was 3. We had to take a tonga, 1 passenger train and then an express train, total of 40–45hours of journey, to visit our grandparents once a year, during summer break. Mind you landline phones were still uncommon, letters were the common mode of communication then. But living in a different state, with people of varied backgrounds gave us an exposure and outlook that my cousins who lived in the village never received. I don't see how us staying in US in this day and age is any different. I can talk to my parents more easily than they could to their parents, i can reach india in less than 24hours, i have access to more indian stores/things than my parents ever had to for Kerala specific items in MP(read coconuts and kappa). My parents could have continued living in their hometowns and never left the comforts of home, family etc and never give us this lifestyle and opportunities.

  7. Every country has problems be it India or US or anywhere else. As long as you help minimize the problems created by you and your family, and do not contribute to it, you are helping the world. Global citizens are the way to go. Being aware of our roots, our culture, our country is true patriotism and nationalism. Just because one is away from the motherland doesn't mean they don't love their country enough. It's not where you live, it's what you carry in your heart, that matters.

Swathi Rajan, lives in Seattle, WA (2017-present)

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