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Roots: It's Swades in real life

They left lucrative jobs abroad to return home and do their bit for rural India. Upala Sen talks to NRIs with a vision for a better tomorrow. Read on...

india Updated: Jun 25, 2006 21:05 IST
Upala Sen

They came back faithfully for their annual breaks year after year after year, from Boston and California, London and Glasgow, Taipei and Muscat. And at the end of their stay, with one foot in the aircraft, with bag-loads of FabIndia ‘steals’ and Lajpat ‘deals’, swore at the poverty, the dirt, the pollution, the traffic, the corruption… And even as they tch tched, they filled in the immigration forms.

Indians have been looking westwards for a good while. Over the years the good, the better and the best have moved out of the country to more attractive, more flourishing climes, in droves. But wait, there is a possibility that this collective hypermetropia isn’t becoming chronic.

Remember the princess and the pea? Yes, the same princess who felt the peaprick through the dozens of mattresses.

The prince proclaimed her the ‘real’ princess. Now you don’t need a degree in psychoanalysis to realise that the test was not of a certain kind of genteel epidermal condition but of a particular sensibility (or should we say sensitivity).

Well, we found some ‘real’ Indians. They have lived and served abroad for anything between five years to over three decades. Long years, but not long enough to forget the mosquito bites and the summer temperatures, the red tapism and the beggars. But they came/are coming back – not to ride on any economy boom (not that there is anything wrong in that) but because they have a vision of a better India. A school here, a blueprint of a rural education model there or affordable as well as quality healthcare services somewhere else – these NRIs are doing their payback time with great gusto.

Read about Atanu Dey, chief economist, Netcore Solutions (next page) >>