Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spot the NRI

The new India has brought many Indians living abroad for years back to their homeland. Most of them have returned here for improved and enhanced career prospects while reconnecting with the country of their birth. Other reasons abound such as being closer to immediate family, strong social networks, giving children born outside India a unique perspective on the country, participate in and contribute to the growth etc.

Bangalore continues to be the magnet that attracts Indians from all around the world. I see it as the NRI (non-resident Indian) capital of India. Interestingly, these are all folks who were born in India and completed their education here before leaving the country for improved and enhanced career prospects elsewhere.

The experience outside of India has changed many of these folks (including ourselves). Mona and I frequently play the game of "Spot the NRI" in a crowd! NRI men are usually clean shaven, speak in measured tones and are frequently seen in an informal setting wearing a clean t-shirt and long shorts. You can also spot them taking walks with their children or pushing the kids stroller or carrying a mountain of shopping/grocery bags and walking behind their wives! Many of these folks are caught in two worlds. They miss the order, cleanliness, structure, discipline and work ethic of their adopted country while enjoying the social connections, great food, hospitality and warmth of their home country.

Interesting "dual-identity" dilemma for these folks!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Outta my way!

We now own a car and I have been driving around Bangalore for over a week. First couple of days were terrifying! I have learnt that you have to have excellent time, space and depth perception to figure out whether you can make it through that narrow space between the bus on your left and the truck on your right before either decides to make an unexpected turn in front of you. You also learn very quickly that you need to stay intensely focused on the road ahead of you. No distractions such as music in the car or a conversation with your family while you are driving. Your video gaming instincts must be finely honed so that you can avoid all those nasty "aliens" such as pedestrians, bicyclists, auto rickshaws etc. who might decide to appear in front of you without any warning.

There are also many positives to car ownership in India. There is a car wash service in our building that will wash the car every day for about $5/month! Self-service option for purchasing gas does not exist. It is all Full Service!

Even Mona has started driving and is ecstatic about her new found freedom and mobility!

Watch out Bangalore! Here we come.