DESI DAAL VIDESI TADKA
INSIGHTS INTO AN NRI’S LIFE
Hundreds or may be thousands of Indians every year move abroad for better lives. Be it in the quest to find better jobs, education, supporting their spouse, and other endless reasons.
Leaving your country and settling down abroad always sounds very flashy to the people who are left behind in their own country. The comforts of a foreign land, the perks, amenities of daily life, convenience of developed society, less polluted surroundings, less populated environment and of course not to forget the perfect lifestyle.
With a lump in my throat, I would like to reveal a truth. There is always an untold story to every cheerful exterior and every broad smile.
Leaving your hometown is a not just a difficult decision to be made but with it follows a whole chain of anxieties, fear, struggles, restless and sometimes loneliness.
Here is what they call as, “behind the scenes”- After an Indian flies to another country, finds himself a decent place to live (which is mainly some relative’s adda for initially you cannot find your own house in a foreign land and trust me staying in a hotel would cost you more than your flight tickets), the initial euphoria of moving to a developed country sinks in, social media account is flooded with pictures and checkins, the so-called reality check hits.
Country people often leave behind their family, their homes, their friends, and sometimes their true identity. What was taken as granted yesterday, has to be earned today.
This reminds me of a very funny incidence. I once happened to ask an NRI, what is the most struggling part of living abroad. His was a hilarious answer. “Nobody pronounces my name properly”. And that’s true. In my case, Prateek became Patrick in blink of an eye.
When you live abroad you are constantly worried about your parents/friends/ spouse who are still in their comfortable shell but are still adapting to live without you being around. When any of your closed ones fall sick or is in trouble you wish to run away to them but your routine, your commitment towards work, hassle of booking the tickets at a reasonable price, etc strikes your mind and the moment you decide you will finally go back, you get a phone call which tells you that that person is alright now. And then what next, back to square one.
Festivals tend to change for you. May be you celebrate ‘Diwali’ and ‘holi’ with a bunch of your Indian friends but the vibe of Indian land is always missing.
You create a home away from your home because in the end you are an Indian by heart and until you have eaten the best of food, laughed you heart out, danced till your feet start hurting and
dressed in the best of your attire, you don’t feel that the festival is being celebrated. When you start living abroad, Skype and video calls are always something to bank upon. Thanks to watsapp calls now which have made lives even more easier. You need to get used to a lot of alien things which might include using strange gadgets like huge washing machines, dish washer, centrally heating and cooling device, bathing in slippery bath tub everyday instead of using bucket and mug, fire alarms, getting used to the forever cold weather and last but not the least using toilet papers everyday.
These are the basic adjustment every NRI has to do but this is not the end. Finding a house to live, setting up everything in the house all by yourself (because there is no labor) doing all the
household chores yourself (since you can not afford a permanent maid), meeting up the strict professional atmosphere (in India reach office at 9 would mean reach office at 11), learning to drive
right hand driven cars (only if you could afford buying one), learning new tax laws, always converting everything into rupees to calculate the true cost, getting familiar with new traffic rules and most important dealing with the childbirth and the 40days which follow. Everything that seemed like a child’s play earlier are actually big daddy’s work now.
“Nobody pronounces my name properly”. And that’s true. In my case, Prateek became Patrick in blink of an eye.
So all the people out there, I’m not saying NRI aren’t happy and comfortable but it takes a lot to leave everything behind and start up afresh all by yourself. It’s an ordeal of unlearn the old ways and learn the new Norms. For NRIs Vacationing doesn’t mean traveling abroad but would mean visiting India again. There are people who are happy in daylight but at night when they close the lights in their rooms, tuck themselves into their soft floppy beds, they miss home. Butter chicken always makes their mouth watery.
Listening Indian names and seeing Indian faces around gives them the feeling of belongingness, they are still SRK and Salman khan’s fan and they are always updated with the current happenings in India.
I salute you for all that you undergo and manage to keep making India proud.
P.S- No matter whichever country we might go, we will find a mini India there because we Indians are known for our culture and traditions and we love staying together.
by Prateek Aggarwal