“The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources―because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.” -- Lyndon B. Johnson
The 'craze' of moving offshore has trapped the minds of our generation. Every other person with whom I have a thoughtful conversation nowadays makes me realise that moving overseas at some point in time is at the back of their minds and almost everyone is toying with this idea.
But the question to be asked is – why do we even want to move to the western lands and what ignites the very spark of going overseas?
The Indian youth and their urge to move abroad, be it for academics, jobs or even to settle there, has always been there and it still continues. If I look around, many of my friends and the people I know have left our 'motherland' or are in the process of making their way out.
It is not that these people are less patriotic and don't love their country but the gen-next is so enlightened that they end-up drawing comparisons with Western countries; whether it is for lucrative jobs, glitzy lifestyle opportunities, broad mindsets, culture and much more.
The concept of 'Brain Drain' or 'Brain Circulation' that emerged a few decades back still hasn't slowed down or stopped and millions of students go abroad every year for higher education and for better career opportunities - thanks to unrealistic cut off lists in our colleges and the same old redundant, traditional courses.
Some of the most famous Indians abroad who have made it big and their success stories can be attributed to this phenomenon. There are certain industries and sectors that have an ocean full of opportunities abroad; and career-oriented people, who have a vision and want to make it big in life don't give moving there a second thought.
The society and even our own mindset to a certain extent can be blamed for it.
We all have grown up with a notion that if a person has a foreign degree or work experience then he has an edge over the others. Many parents have imbibed the very thought in their children from a tender age that foreign education is better and life abroad is much easier. But what they don't realise is that in doing so they themselves are cutting off their familial ties. The truth remains – when a person steps out of his home country in search of greener pastures, the chances of coming back to his own land fade.
Let us face it - why would anybody, after spending lakhs on education, want to return immediately after the conclusion of their respective studies (unless you are quite well-off and don't mind spending lakhs without the returns). People stay there for shedding off loans, gaining global exposure, trying a stint to expand their horizons and staying on for a few years. In this process, they get used to a certain kind of lifestyle, hefty pay packages. It's like a vicious circle, once you jump in, you can't escape it.
But life abroad is not entirely hunky-dory. When people share their experiences, you realise that while life looks rosy and pleasant from the outside but actuality is far removed from the perception. Initially you enjoy the new surroundings, avenues, experiences and the new life but the ramifications of living in a foreign land hit you when you miss your homeland, parents, family, friends and the comfort zone you left in your country. Surviving abroad is not a smooth ride for all. You have to face your share of bumps and speed-breakers (emotionally and mentally as well). Moving away has its own pitfalls, though there are a few exceptions. One has to be strong-headed to survive in a foreign land and it indeed is a herculean task for faint-hearted people. People have to make many adjustments in order to survive in a foreign land. Asians often face racism in many western countries where they receive cold treatment and feel the pressure of being an outcast.
But like every coin has two sides and everyone has the right to choose a better life for themselves. One can be drawn to a land where there are a plethora of opportunities waiting to be explored. I don't want to demean my country, but it's a sad reality that in the near future the struggle for a life that we all aspire for will be madding and we'll have to fight for our good future.
As someone wisely said - “When you need to fly from your home, it's not a home. Home should be where the birds feelings are free not caged.”