I am 27 and I have lived in Europe (Netherlands and UK) for almost two years and a did a small stint in Brazil (for two months). It has been a little over two years since I am in India. I have been objectively thinking about this question for a while now and here are my views.
Being a patriotic Indian, I would like to meaningfully contribute back to India. The question is if I can do it from abroad or from within
There are four parts to explore in this question
a. Why I would like to stay in India
1.Affordable and tasty food
Those living abroad will agree what a luxury it is to eat homemade or authentic Indian food that is cheap and affordable. I literally forced myself to get used to eating sandwiches and forms of bread atleast once or twice a day
2. House help
I am strongly against social divides, but having a maid sure relieves a lot of pressure especially when you have a family and a career to take care of. I literally have to spend 20% of my time doing grocery management, cooking, cleaning dishes and cleaning house.
3. Staying close to family and enjoying festivals
You can take care of your aging parents. You can visit your relatives. Kids will have cousins to play with and grandparents to visit. You can go through the intricate ceremonies and festive cheer.
This is a festival called ‘Chithirai thiruvila, celebrated in Madurai. Been ages since I went to this
4.The Hustle and bustle
There is something about the crowd, the chaos, commotion, turmoil on the streets, the myriad of aromas and sounds that fill the air, that is soothing and makes you feel at home.
5. Contribute to stopping the Brain- drain
An obvious reason though not on anybody’s agenda while making a decision
b. Why I would not like to settle in India
- Safety issues for women (and for my future daughters if I have any)
Everyday you see a rape case in the news. It could very well be you any day. As a single working women in metro cities, it pained me when I see news like ‘TCS employee murdered after being raped in X city’. It has been 5 years since Nirbhaya and still in small towns and some parts of big towns women’s safety hasnt improved a lot. This adds additional pressure on girls to be careful and avoid places after X time of the day.
This translates to ‘Lack of freedom of movement’
You follow a restricted timetable, are forced to become dependent on a male friend, feel a lot powerless which I hate. Goddammit I want to go on late night walks on my own.
2. Narrow minded people/chauvinism/sexism/Casteism/Racism
You are stereotyped, judged for what you wear, where you are from , what caste you are from. Comments like ‘He is a Punjabi he loves to party, He is a Marwari he must be thrifty, you are a south India , you must love chillies’ irate me. Give me chance to say who I am!
You find people living within the close confines of culture and badmouthing those who get out of their comfort zone and try something new. #GossipingIndianAunties
3. Too much competition
We are 1.3 billion for gods sake. You compete with millions of people in your own age group. You are bound to be average no matter how good you think you are. In this heavy competition the individuality is lost.
c. Why I would like to settle abroad
1.Cleanliness and safety
No paan stains, muddy pools of water, dug up roads, overflowing dustbins. Not that I mind them a lot. I can ignore them, but their absence removes a lot of clutter from your mind. You dont feel like littering the place.
I dont tremble as much when walk into alleys at night (Something I wouldn’t even dare back in India). Not everywhere abroad is 100% safe but the gender impartiality isn’t there. You will get mugged if you are a guy or a girl.
Ya, I get to go on my midnight walks. It suits a free spirit like me!
2.Open Mindedness of people
I am no longer defined by the place I come from or what caste I am from. I can pursue activities I like. People are more open when it comes to dating, travelling, meeting friends, partying. The absence of a group of people who judge you and make you feel bad for deviating from the norm, feels good.
One of the main factors people settle abroad is money. Converting pounds ad dollars into Indian rupee and sending them home makes your parents feel proud for sure I guess(for a while)
4. Can find ways to contribute back by staying abroad
Research in an university on Indian economy, working with entrepreneurial ventures that benefit India, PhD abroad but doing the field work in India. I feel this is better than working for a foreign company from India (Would like to hear more on this)
5. The glam and glitter of the metropolitan city
I feel this way probably because I am young. I just love the sophisticated looking office going people and tall rise glass buildings
D. Why I would not settle abroad
Life becomes limited to weekends. Weekdays are spent working late and watching netflix. Its just too cold to go out a lot. Concept of joint families dont exist. Personal freedom and privacy is valued a lot so you see people living by themselves alone a lot. I dont see a lot of opening up taking place.
2.Hedonistic lifestyle in western culture
Definition: a philosophical system which holds that people are motivated primarily by the production of pleasure and happiness as well as avoidance of pain. The lifestyle is too materialistic and super expensive.
3. Feeling of being a stranger on a strange land
No matter what you do you know you will not become one of the them. You need to struggle and work hard to keep your visa status.
I have had an amazing time being single (without a family) abroad mostly because I have had the freedom move around and less responsibilities. Now for the future I had started considering whether to move to India or not.
This post might no give an answer to the question but presented the two sides of the coin (rather four). I would like to hear more opinions and real life experiences in the comments.