India : Up, Close and Personal
In a way, also, this visit of mine is the prelude to my eventual return, as I try to judge the mood and assess the opportunity in India. Interestingly, I have already seen that there is a quite a bit of resentment towards the returnees, the thousands of people who are now returning from the west and taking up jobs in India. While I was celebrating the import of competitiveness, enterprise and innovation into India on this blog, quite a few people thought the opposite - they saw this returning crowd as opportunity seeking prospectors, who left India when times were good and now trying to come back and take the jobs when times are bad.
Well, I am sure I am biased on this one, but the resentment towards returnees caught me by complete surprise. I am not sure whether this can actually be the same in any other society - people are returning now to every country from wherever they were working - and whether this will be socially acceptable to voice these resentments so openly in any other place. I think this is the bit about India - the privileged are so used to privileges and so uncomfortable with any sort of competition - that keeps us where we are. But more importantly, there is another trait here, which makes it even more interesting to watch. We are so unused to failure! The perception that these returnees have failed - this is a completely wrong perception because many of them could rot in where they were but instead chose to take the plunge - is making us close the door. If we perceived that these people are actually coming back with pots of money and connections, which they usually are, we would have the first to be at the airport with a garland.
Obviously, I think the reverse brain drain will happen: the engineers, the software coders, the marketers and the teachers will return. I shall join the ranks, at some point of time, because I also love my family as much as anyone else, and would love to have the comforts of living at home. I am hoping that by then, we shall get used to the idea of return - someone could actually leave Europe and come and live in India by choice!
For a long time, we have been an wounded and insecure country. It is time that we now start thinking like a big and prosperous country and embrace these people, who have much to offer, with confidence.