Returning to roots for good

Sharada and Nischal with children.

Vishal and Dhriti Seth moved to Bangalore three years ago from Pittsburg with their two children. Vishal works with a private company and Dhriti is an architect. A happy social life in America. not withstanding, they feel that the trend has reversed itself in a big way and the grass is no longer greener in the West. “The kids have two sets of doting grandparents just a short flight away and the joys of having domestic help and someone to cook and clean for you is a big boon, which we never had back in the US,” they say. “I was away at work, travelling a lot and Dhriti used to manage the home and kids by herself which was tough. Now with a full-fledged support system in place, we can enjoy a great social and personal life, travel when we want to, safe in the knowledge that the kids are in good care,” he says.

Adarsh and Sukshma Rai worked in New York, living the American dream. Now they are back in Bangalore and feel that although there are daily hassles, the proximity to family and friends compensates. “We lived in New Jersey and did the daily commute to Long Island and Manhattan. Weekends were taken up with housekeeping and cooking chores which are now done by the staff here. But driving here is tough. I find it difficult to visit my sister who lives across town,”  says Adarsh. However, life in India though enriching on a personal level is also very stressful. “The general apathy of citizens towards civic issues, like dumping the household waste into stormwater drains or driving rashly, is so disgusting. If only we took responsibility for our behaviour, India would be a paradise,” he says.

Roopa and Gavin Colacco, both human resource managers, spent a few years in America before heading back home to Bangalore. “It was an enriching and learning experience to live in another country for a while, we had a great circle of friends and life was very different in a challenging sort of way. Here, of course, we are close to the family. They stay close by. The neighbourhood is largely a friendly sea of faces and we chat at any time of the day with friends and neighbours, which doesn't happen back there where things are a lot more formal,” says Roopa. As far as careers go, she feels that opportunities in India are really good and that one often needs a foreign degree to get the same level of employment in the West.

Sharada and Nischal Dutta are back in Bangalore after a long stint of working, teaching and relocating around the United States. With their two children in tow, they are trying to give their kids the best of both worlds by adapting global practices to cultural traditions. “The biggest draw is family ties but workwise, America is more rewarding especially in my field,” says Sharada, a physics professor. “Indian education is strong on discipline, high on pressure but low in flexibility and independence. I was able to teach an 80-year-old and many of my students could take art and sculpture along with hardcore science. We impose limitations on learning here,” she feels.

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