Both Keshi and Solitaire's latest posts covered a topic which is really pertinent. Namely, why do people in one's home country tend to look down on someone who's moved abroad? It also brought up my feelings and thoughts on an identical topic. So,let me share my views,if I may:
It could be envy,it could be that these people feel that the person who moved abroad is not a patriot,it could be that these people themselves wish to go abroad,but,something,some family issues hold them back-be it an ailing parent,or,their being the only child or attachment to their job which does not allow them to ditch it's security and take the leap into unknown territory.
I was reminded of some cases from my school days,some sad,some happy. One of these was of a friend and his sister. Both of them were in the same school as I was(And,a pretty nice school it was,too). During this time,it was first their father who was abroad in the Gulf, earning so that the kids could get a good education,and,they all could have a good future. Then,as they reached Higher Secondary,their mother also moved abroad,to be with her husband. So, the brother-sister duo bravely managed home and studies,in India,while their parents were abroad.
Situation changed-post college and post the sister's marriage. The son's in the US of A since the early nineties,while the daughter is married and is in U.K. And,the parents,since then,are back in India,where their Dad is now doing a part/full time job. Both Uncle-Aunty(as I call them) are gems. There was a time when,in one year,both of them were ill,one after the other,and they still did not inform their kids,because they did not want anything to disturb their progress abroad.
This situation makes me wonder- is this the way God means it to happen,for any family?
Contrast this with another Uncle-Aunty who are family friends. In the Seventies,they moved to Detroit,along with their kids who were in Primary School. So, you can understand that the kids' whole education has been abroad. Now, they(the kids)can't imagine ever returning to India. In just 5-6 years of their moving there, they began to dislike their gentle grandparents(I really don't know whether they are still alive,God bless them) because they were 'too strict',and 'too old'. But,was it their fault that they grew up in such an environment?Come to think of it,was it their grandparents' fault,either,that they themselves grew up in an environment of thrift,where making two ends meet was an occasion to celebrate,and,suddenly,seeing the tremendous wastage in the US of A,they couldn't really adjust? In the beginning,they'd save all the milk bottles,and nice plastic bags,et al,until,finally they were convinced that these could never be preserved for eternity.*smiles*.
In both the above cases, I feel quite sad. Because,both the families are close to us,the guy in the first example,was among my good school friends,and a competitor for me,for the top rank,always,so we also had some 'friendly rivalry'. And then,I think- if they feel happy with how life has moved for them, why should I feel sad? And,if they're not happy,did they remedy their situation,especially in the second case? Or,did they also,like so many of us do,adapt to the situation and ensure happiness, instead of cribbing about it and about the world?
As I mentioned in my comment in Keshi's post, I used to scoff at people who would go abroad with stars in their eyes,and,I'd wonder why they had such lofty ambitions that they wanted to leave their families,their friends,home,everything and settle in a strange land. But then,as they say,with age comes maturity-I realized that everyone does everything with a purpose,and,everything happens with a purpose. It took a 'forced' visit to Abu Dhabi,(I say 'forced' because our Boss at that time, wanted me to gain international experience,and forced me to give it a try,hats off to him,too) in June'97, on deputation from my previous company, for a period of three months,to make me realize that the outside world is not that bad at all. I still count those three months as the best period of my life- I loved the working style,I loved the atmosphere in our small office and, I was able to save money for a black-n-white video camera(Which was a new model then),at the end of those three months. But,even then, it took another four years in India again, to convince me to leave for foreign shores again. The reason? Insecurity at the Indian job(I was asked to move to Mumbai,and I thought- if Mumbai,why not Dubai? Anywhere outside Baroda,would mean the same,after all-away from my hometown). So, I took the plunge,moved here,and,well,as they say,the rest is history.
I look at people who have moved here,especially youngsters,and,more especially,young ladies- and,I say'hats off' to them. When I was their age, I used to be scared to even go from Baroda to Mumbai by train. And,look at them- they've moved here, they miss their families,they stay in sharing accomodation, and, they have it in their minds that they are going to earn enough to be financially independent,now,and in the future,even after they get married, so that they are not dependent even on their husbands. They also bravely ward off the occasional lewd comments from the male gentry, being bold enough to call in the police if necessary, and, they always remain survivors. Perhaps I'll introduce you to one of these gems in a future post, if you want to know, since she's a colleague. And, she might tell her experiences in her own words. It's amazing,really. Just as amazing as it was to read that Keshi managed to complete both her Degrees, by taking a student loan and repaying every penny of it herself. If that's not inspiring,what is?
Again,let me say,this post is purely based on my experiences and my feelings on the topics- there are many who would feel that we are silly to lend our mental resources to a foreign country instead of using them to help our own country. And,there are still others who would prefer to retire in their public sector jobs in India, content to do a 9 to 5 job,with Provident Funds,et al,being their fixed savings. And, I say,Amen to them also. But, people,tell me, by working here,firstly,aren't we some kind of ambassadors for our countries? And,also,by sending back a good amount of our salaries to our country,aren't we also a part of helping the economy to grow there? Ok,so,we have a somewhat more relaxed,convenient life,everything is at the fingertips,life's not a struggle for everything from electricity to water to getting a gas cylinder,as it still is in many parts of India. But,on the other hand,haven't we also sacrificed something big,to move here and work towards a secure future for us and our families?
Frankly, I would be quite happy to move back to India,too- and I always keep an eye open for the right opportunity. But,till then, this is the current path I have chosen,and, let me be happy treading on it-sometimes cautiously,sometimes in a hurry!But,in both cases,being totally responsible for my own actions!
Do you mind?Or, as they say here sometimes- If you don't mind, I don't have mind!!!
Cheerio. The next topic will be back to my usual writing style!:)