Posts Tagged ‘Money Transfer’

Remember When?

November 11, 2011

It was a simpler time.. A time when even the cities in India felt like small towns, with tight knit communities. And though there wasn’t too much by way of professional prospects, the way it is now in modern India; people looked out for one another, there was a sense of honesty & integrity, and everyone collectively got by. That, is what I remember about my growing up and young adulthood days, back in the India of the 60s.

Being someone whose childhood was witness to, and full of India’s freedom struggle; I had the good fortune of observing some of our greatest leaders. Hearing stories of courage, loyalty, and selfless conviction from my parents, who had been contemporaries to Gandhi and of the freedom movement, our own youths were not made up of video games and MMS scandals, but rather of patriotic fervor and a nationalistic pride. Sure, there were, as I said, pit falls in the India back then. Infrastructure was poor, job opportunities limited, and standards of living, spartan. But there was above all, contentment, despite these shortcomings.

And then, as the 70s began to roll in and the Indian polity ‘matured’, unfortunately, the political and civilian classes, took blatant advantage of democratic systems, and ushered in the era of corruption. One that would become the bane of India’s progress and existence. A disease that would take over the moral fiber of our great country and society, emerging a way of life. Adopt it and add to the corrupt system, or be shunned out. Hence, my migration to the United Kingdom. Ironic when as a resident of the UK for over 30 years now, when I think back, I had to come to a country that ruled us for very long, and end up working here!

You might wonder why I am raking up a time that is by-gone, and talking about a prehistoric India. Well, it is simply because today, like in the formative years of my life in India, I, along with several others of my generation here in the UK, feel that there is a revolution brewing in India. There is great and good change upon us, and the man who is spearheading this mass movement, is Anna Hazare. It is my belief that there is a new force at power in today’s India, and that force of integrity and anti-corruption, is taking in its fold, an entire generation of young Indians, who have the capability and will, to transform India, and rid the country of this menace. And that makes us here, as people who left our beloved motherland, feel extremely proud, relieved, and hopeful.

Feeling A Bit Lonely

October 25, 2011

Festivals in India, much like anywhere else in the world, are a time of family, friends, togetherness, bonding and celebration. They always mark a significant historical fact, but perhaps more importantly, present a great opportunity for families and friends to come together, share, laugh, and be one unit. So it is only natural then, that as NRIs living abroad and away from home in India, Diwali time is one that brings back all the fond memories of happy times spent together with friends and family.

Unfortunately, those memories are also accompanied by the realization that though Indians like myself living abroad may have our local circle of friends and relatives; being so far away from home, from parents, childhood friends, and close relations; Diwali celebrations seem incomplete. There is always a void come festival time. Be it for an NRI couple like my wife and I in London, or nearly any other NRIs, like many of our friends who now live across Europe and the United States; Diwali away from India, is just not the same.

We all constantly contemplate returning to India at least for the festive season, but so many realities of modern life prevent us from doing so. Our work schedules where leave can prove fatal, our childrens’ school schedules that don’t necessarily account for our native festivals, the cost of flying back for a short period of time; all these factors and more weigh down definite travel plans, and more often than not, we stay put in our cities and our lives, abroad.

All this is not to say we don’t have a good time, in fact, the one great thing about India is its people, and no matter where we are, there is a sense of community among Indians everywhere the world over, and it is this unity that brings us together in foreign lands, particularly at festival time. But compared to physically being back home; well, there is simply no comparison. The lights, the festive traditional clothes, the yummy food and mithai, the gathering of loved ones and the awesome fun of a joint family, the Poojas, the entire atmosphere is replete with festivity, and that is simply irreplaceable in a foreign country.

But the reason I share this today is not a gloomy one. It is in fact a very positive and hope filled one. That while we may not have the luxury of flying down and being with our loved ones during Diwali, the knowledge that our sacrifices as NRIs, are helping build the lives of all our loved ones back home, is an unbeatable and extremely rewarding feeling that perhaps we would not feel to this degree, had we been living in India. Knowing that we are enabling our families back home to grow, prosper, and dare to dream big dreams, is to me as an NRI, the essence of Diwali itself. Joy, giving, sharing, and love.

I wish all the NRIs out there a very happy Diwali, and say proudly that we have a lot to be happy about, and by being away, we are in fact, giving back to the very spirit of Diwali, that we yearn. God bless!

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