Life of an NRI: A boon or a bane?

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As the famous saying goes “grass is always greener on the other side of the hill”, this is true with the life of an NRI. Many people in India envy and strongly believe that an NRI’s life is a cake walk and he is the most fortunate person on this earth. Let’s take a closer look at the truth of this statement.

Many young girls and boys aspire to come to the US for higher education. Lately, this has become the only dream for many engineering students that toil hard to write GRE/TOEFL and come to the US for higher education. On the other hand, there are other youngsters that come on a work visa to earn big bucks. They all keep a common goal. Completing their education, get into a lucrative job, save some big bucks, return home and eventually live with their parents and family happily. But the reality is that a surprisingly low number of people achieve their goal.

With no exaggeration, the NRI’s life has only a few memories to save. Most of his beginning years are gone dealing with immigration issues, transferring visas, learning to drive and maintain good credit history etc. In no time, the NRI compellingly takes a huge shift in thinking and style of living. Soon, he is stuck in a vicious cycle of immigration at the expense of his goal keeping.

A few years later, the same cycle repeats for the spouse, learn how to drive, apply for work visa. The new person enters into knowingly an unknowing world and is expected to make wonders from day one. Of course, in between, there will be conversations with parents back home about slick roads, awesome infrastructure, big highways, clean streets, lavish buildings. Brag about dishwashers, washing machines and gigantic fridges that endorse the perception that the NRI’s life is a royal life indeed. Little would they know that deep inside the NRI’s life is only filled with nostalgia, loneliness and boredom?

In the midst of fear and fury, the NRI applies for a Green Card. Countdown begins. Five years later, (if lucky), “hurray, the Green Card has arrived”. The NRI connects with even oldest of his friends and shares the news as if he made a roundtrip to the Mars. A decade has passed by this time with the milestone: Green Card. Engrossed in the mundane and monotonous life, the NRI relentlessly searches for an entertainment package in an effort to bring some emotional tone of life. He visits places, yet, lacks happiness and contentment. He turns into a full blown confused desi. To turn confusion to clarify, he starts his ‘US Citizenship course 101’and learns a few more facts on number of days he needs to stay to achieve the famous “Mr Successful NRI” award. Five more years, he is now a successful Mr US Citizen just like his kids. Yet, he feels alien, the brown skin has not changed, Indian accent has not improvised. Oblivious at each stage, he takes deep plunge and reaches the shore several hundred times and guess what? His youth was gone.

In retrospection, the equation – success = citizenship – will be satisfied. Nevertheless, the law of happiness still remains as a hole. As the social, emotional and philosophical life fades away, the three R’s: Refresh, Revive and Recharge, would not happen to the NRI. Obviously, the NRI enticingly does not cling to the NRI and the citizenship status; it proves to be just his compelling state of need.

While some NRIs are confused, anxious and still decide to settle here, others try to go back. The NRIs who decide to return look for support from parents and family. Astonishingly, lots of them are getting a push back in the name of dollars. Whether we overcome the repulsion and make the dream a reality or remain as an ABCD (even though, not American-Born, but Confused Desi) is in each NRI’s hands. The fact is “no man is an island”.


This article was also published in Times of India on Oct 13, 2014, 06.37PM IST, you can visit the site by clicking here .


Writing is what I do for the love of it. The passion for writing has always been there with me but discovering it happened later. One famous poet rightly said: "A word is mightier than a sword." And I am a firm believer of that saying. Through words, a writer can inspire, motivate, and take the reader to a different world. My first work of fiction #fortunefair is available on Amazon.

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