So, you've finally decided to move back to India for good. Maybe you miss your motherland, maybe you miss your family, or maybe you’re moving for the sake of your children. The reasons can be varied, but do keep in mind that the India you left behind, ten years ago, or even one month ago, would not be the same India that you're returning to. THAT is what causes many of us to be so fascinated yet bewildered by our dear motherland. So, here are some tips to keep in mind when moving back:
Decide the facilities/conveniences you require before choosing the place to settle
Something most NRI's take for granted are the availability of electricity, water, gas, internet, transportation etc. Remember, India is a developing country. Some places might have excellent electricity and water supply, but the nearest gas supply store would be 20 km away or the Internet connection available might only work if the service provider is feeling exceptionally kind.
Consider the benefits of the area you want to live in
If you have children, one of the most important things you’ll want to consider is the educational facility available. Are there good schools and colleges nearby? Is the curriculum manageable? In case of difficulties in studies, are there good tutors or tutorial centres nearby? If you don't have children, and you plan to work in India, consider the job prospects and transport facilities. Is the bus stand/ train station close to your residence? For e.g., If you're in the IT field, undoubtedly, Bangalore will attract you, as it is the major IT hub of India, with its latest technology and good transport system.
Choosing the place to settle
One of the most wonderful things about India is that one can live in close proximity to one's family. This, of course, is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Yes, you get to live near your parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts. You get to spend time with them, talk with them without worrying about the telephone bill, and you can meet them as often as you like. It also means that you'll never be alone. During times of crisis, this is a blessing. It is heart-warming to know that so many people care for you. However, be prepared to be immersed in the inevitable family squabbles, the petty differences everyone seems to share and expect unwanted advice and input on how to behave and what to wear! They mean well, but, for those who like a little freedom, maybe they should choose a location not too close to home. Another thing to keep in mind is the language barrier, especially if you're settling in a place where the native language isn't familiar. You’d better learn it FAST. You'll find it infinitely helpful when you want to travel in an auto rickshaw, ask for directions or may be even to have a normal chat with your new neighbour.
Live in an apartment or a house?
For people who prefer small spaces or are worried about security, an apartment is the best way to go. You can choose an apartment which you feel is right for you. In an apartment, you don't have to worry about thefts or about somebody breaking into your home at night, especially if you have building security. For the traditionalists, who want a home with a garden for the children to play in, and two dogs and a cat to add to your family, an ‘independent house’ is the best option for you.
Familiarize yourself with the Income Tax rules and policies
Till now, you've lived the comfortable tax free life of an NRI. Those glorious days are over! Don't forget, the government imposes a tax which they consider appropriate and most of us consider murderous. There are ways to protect and invest your money so that one doesn't have to pay too high a tax and yet can live comfortably, perhaps even lavishly. So, learn the rules, the tips and tricks you need to know about those taxes and protect your money.
Mentally prepare yourself to live with prevailing political circumstances
In India, politics and corruption go hand in hand. It is an accepted practice to bribe officials to get your things done. While this doesn't mean that you’ll have to bribe every single person to get your work done, it does mean that you need to be prepared for people who demand bribes. You need to be alert about the changing political atmosphere. Don't judge India too harshly and blame it all on other people. Once you get the hang of the place you live in, you'll notice that, for every one corrupt person, there are countless who are willing to lend you a helping hand.
Pollution and Hygiene
The major metropolitan cities of India are polluted. Pollution control measures and littering fines are just being implemented. So, don't expect pristine cleanliness anywhere—on the roads, the rivers, the trains or the buses. You will see residential areas kept charmingly tidy and beautiful. And when you're travelling and pass a river, you'll notice that it is clogged with garbage. So, adjust and prepare yourself. You might not see it, but measures are being taken in many places to control pollution and to promote hygiene.
You've chosen the area to settle down and it suits you to a T. Facilities are excellent, the children love the school and their new home, and you have a bus stop close at hand. Life's perfect, isn't it? Well...not exactly! Something that every Indian knows and any person who's been in India for a short time will come to know, is that India's sense of timing is, for the lack of a better word, UNIQUE. There is an order to it somewhere and you get the rhythm within a week or so. But till you get it, life will be a little frustrating. The buses will come an hour late on Mondays and Thursdays and on time on Tuesdays and fifteen minutes early the rest of the week. And everyone seems to know about it except you. Patience is a virtue. In India, it's a necessity!
Moving from one place to another
While it's true that every state in India has its own language, it is also true that every city in India seems to have its own version of the language. The Hindi spoken in Delhi would not be the same as the Hindi spoken in Punjab. So, if you're travelling or decide to meet that favourite uncle of yours who lives in some remote area, don't expect a smooth ride. You'll meet the uncle and get to see the place you wanted. You'll also have to get used to communicating in a language that consists of a bit of the local dialect, a handful of Hindi, broken words of English and a LOT of hand gestures.
Above all, expect the unexpected
Yes, you've taken all the variables into consideration. And YES, you're happy with what you have decided. But things are still not going as smoothly as you expected? Remember, you're in INDIA. Nothing is ever fixed, nothing is constant. Indians firmly adhere to the theory, 'Order in Chaos'. So don't be surprised when things spin out of your control and don't panic if things are not going according to schedule. Pause a moment. Take a deep breath and let it out. Then, with the light of battle in your eyes, jump into the chaos that constitutes everyday India. Relish your victories and dismiss your losses. After a while, you'll notice that while things are not going precisely according to your schedule, they are happening.
The above tips are generalized to give an idea of what to expect when you move back to India. To make the best use of it, personalize the tips and apply them to your situation. And when things get too overwhelming for you, meditate. Do Yoga. I'm sure this was one of the reasons why Yoga originated from India!
Editor's note: Most articles submitted to Chillibreeze go through a selection process. Only 30 percent of submitted articles are accepted for publication on the Chillibreeze.com featured article list. All accepted articles are edited and proofread for glaring errors of punctuation and grammar. Sentence structure is changed in certain cases and sometimes, entire sections are rewritten. If you notice any errors that have slipped through the cracks, do let us know! (Email us at info at chillibreeze dot com).
Chillibreeze's disclaimer: This is a contributed article and was published on Chillibreeze in August, 2010. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of Chillibreeze as a company. Chillibreeze has a strict anti-plagiarism policy. Please contact us to report any copyright issues related to this article. The relevance of the facts and figures cited (if any) could change after a period of time.
Out of 5 “chilies”, our editorial team gave this article...
—About our writer:
Deepthy Kaninghat Menon is a BE final year student who considers writing as her passion. She worked in the editorial committee of her college magazine and later became the Chief Editor. She loves to write about travel, the latest technology, politics, reviews etc. She's a Keralite who's visited a part of Europe, currently lives part year in Bangalore and the rest in Dubai, and hopes to do a MS in management in another unfamiliar city!
>> Read more articles written by Chillibreeze writers: