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How many times have you heard something along the lines of "you can be anything you want to be"? Those knowledgeable grown-ups told you time and again that you're special and you are that ONE agent of change in this oh so wrong world that is going to do wonders for yourself and the state of humanity. Your teachers, your friends, your family all gave you the courage to dream big, and dream big you did – a little TOO big. You thought you could follow your passion and maybe do a little something for the world too, but what they meant was "earn money", and for that there is a lot of opportunity in India.
You could, of course, do a couple of degrees, join the ever expanding Indian workforce in the industries our country deems fit to invest in, and Voila! You're home free. And if that's your ambition, then great! India is THE place for you to build a career in (IF you were one of the statistically fortunate individuals to pass out of one of the "right" educational meccas that is). But here's the issue. What if, when everyone told you that you could change the world, you believed it? What if you thought about more than being a replaceable cog in a well-oiled machine? Does India really offer you enough opportunity to do that? To change the world?
A few years ago, India celebrated the wining of a Nobel Prize in chemistry by an individual of Indian origin. This individual was of U.S citizenship, something we easily dismiss in our bout of patriotism. After his BSc he moved to Ohio to pursue his PhD, and consequently to live, because that presented him with more opportunities to be able to live up-to his full potential. It may have been the availability of a more advanced technology, it may have been the supportive environment in which failure is not reprimanded or it may even have been that his passion was supported financially – but the fact remains that he found something that changes human life for the better, even if just a teeny bit. While critics will say that we must all do something to give back to the country, I say that's thinking too small - I want to give back to the world. What if my "dreaming big" meant that my dreams were not confined to the idea of a nation in which I was born?
Now, I'm not saying that everyone who wants to leave this country better only do it if there is a Nobel involved in it. It might just be that your happiness lies elsewhere. What is the point of being in a field of work in which you don't believe, in which you are no longer productive, in which you are not contributing? What then is the motivation to do better, to question status-quo or to achieve excellence? If the same can be provided in another country, I say pack your bags, and leave. Be happy. Reignite that passion to do better, and contribute a little bit more to your world than the empty gaze directed towards the computer screen for half your very special life.
(Rekha Rane aspires to be a vagabond one day. As of now, she is saving the world one couture denim at a time)