Have you heard of the term reverse migration? While this phenomenon may be somewhat surprising to some, it is actually becoming increasingly popular, especially among Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). You see, it wasn’t too long ago when the shores of the western world enticed us with promises of better lives, opportunities, and prosperity. And yet, we witness a trending wave upon wave of Indian expatriates moving back to India. Well then, one can't help but wonder, why are NRIs moving back to India?
Honestly, Max, my lively and ever-enthusiastic beagle, scratches the door to go outside with equal perplexity whenever he sees Coco, my parrot, nonchalantly munching on his favorite sunflower seeds. But as with Max and Coco's odd but funny companionship, there are underlying layers to this trend, and I’ll attempt to unravel them for you just as I unravel the chaos that Max and Coco often create in my peaceful hallway.
First off, India is going through an entrepreneurial revolution unlike any time in its history. Businesses are popping up on every corner, redefining industries and breaking conventional norms. The growing Indian startup ecosystem provides NRIs with abundant opportunities to experiment, innovate, and build something of their own. It's very much a 'gold rush' akin to the one in the Wild West but instead of pickaxes, here they yield tech innovations and disruptive ideas.
And what fuels this surge? A robust domestic economy, increasing consumerism, policy initiatives favoring startups, and most importantly, a massive young and digitally-savvy population eager for innovation. It's like a giant sandbox for creative minds, and it's a thrill that many NRIs are reluctant to miss.
No matter how much an NRI may love bagels and bacon for breakfast, there's an undeniable allure to the scent of hot idlis and filter coffee. This is not just about food but the overall sentiment that resonates with every NRI. There's a magnetic appeal in being surrounded by familiar customs, festivities, language, and faces that looks and speaks like you.
Moreover, for NRIs with kids, India offers a significant opportunity for their offspring to grow up rooted in their cultural heritage. Like when I carry Max during our long walks and narrating to him the epic tales of the Mahabharata and Ramayana – yeah Max enjoys these stories, trust me – it's about passing on our cultural legacy to the next generation.
Another defining reason for NRIs returning home is, quite simply, family. Our Indian society is entrenched with strong familial bonds. It's not uncommon to find grandparents sharing their wisdom with their grandchildren while savoring their favorite homemade ladoos. And it's these traditions that make us yearn for home. Being close to parents, attending family functions, celebrating festivals, and just staying connected with our roots is a cherished aspect of our lives that NRIs deeply miss.
Indeed, I believe the secret behind Coco's uncanny mimicry of my old-style Hindi songs is nothing but my occasional reminiscing of my mother's melodious voice filling our house in Kolkata while cooking lip-smacking saag and roti. Oh, the joyous rhythms of a close-knit family, where sentiments are stirred and wholesomeness is served!
Believe it or not, India has a lower cost of living compared to many developed nations. From housing, transport, education to leisure activities – everything is considerably more affordable in our country. Plus, there has been a significant improvement in public infrastructure, overall standard of living, and the quality of education and healthcare, which is a strong consideration for NRIs grappling with huge expenses abroad.
Sure, I occasionally wonder if Max would love to romp around in the sprawling parks of London or if Coco would be delighted in the chirping company of exotic parakeets in Sydney. But, hold on! My wallet screams in protest while my heart contentedly dwells in the practical provision of abundant green spaces and parks nearby, all affordable with a feel-good bonus of breathing in India's air!
Last, but by no means least, is the patriotic pull. Many NRIs, after absorbing the best practices and knowledge from the developed world, desire to contribute back to their homeland. It is an emotional, as well as a patriotic feeling that India is growing and requires their expertise to progress. It's akin to a mother's beckoning for her children to return home and bring back the learned wisdom for the betterment of the family.
Yup, it's that warm fuzzy feeling I get when Max greets me with his wagging tail or Coco mimics my laughter. It's about being needed and cherishing this sense of belonging to a place, to a people, to a culture- to India.
Everyone has their own reason for making the journey back home, though common threads weave the themes I discussed. For many, including myself, our migration did not feel so much as a departure but more like an intermission. As an NRI, I learned, evolved, and returned with a zest to contribute, be it by spinning tales for Max or by teaching Coco more Indian melodies.
So, remember friends, whether you're living abroad and contemplating returning, or you're in India witnessing your NRI friends and relatives come back, it's a beautiful process. The circle of life and love for our motherland remains vibrant and pulsates through everyone of us. And it's this ever-lasting connection that makes India's charm truly irresistible. So let's embrace it and let it lead us on some truly extraordinary journeys!