The objective of this blog post is not to motivate/force you to return back to India. But, if you have been contemplating about R2I for a while & couldn't make up your mind because of the lack of enough data points/reasons - this blog post is exactly for YOU. If you want to know the reasons for returning to India (R2I) - you can find them here. If you are wondering whether you should stay in US or move to India, this is the post for YOU.
Returning back to India - 25 things to do
R2I - List of things to pack/bring from US
10 things to consider before you decide to R2I
Quality of Life
1) There are lots of good options for entertainment - theme parks, movie theatres, shopping complexes & multiplexes. The multiplexes have options for movies, entertainment, shopping, dining, etc., You can kill the whole day in some of these multiplexes.
2) There is a REAL social life. Life is not very mechanical here. You get to meet friends/relatives quite often in weddings, engagements or other parties.
3) You don't have to 'plan your visit' to your friend's or relative's place. You can just show up without fixing appointments.
4) Your favorite Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, Honda/Toyota, & Ford are now available in India and they're very common. If you drive a Ford Icon or a Honda City, people don't stare at you anymore.
5) Even groceries/vegetables are delivered at your home for no extra cost. Almost everything is sold or delivered to you at your door steps. You can call the nearby grocery shop and ask them to bring stuff to your home.
6) You can book train/flight or bus tickets over the web (http://www.irctc.co.in, http://www.redbus.co.in/). You don't have to call your travel agent, anymore. You can even look for real estate, rental properties online !
7) Many mundane tasks such as paying bills, government transactions etc., are available online. (I love IRCTC.CO.IN)
8) Though the price of goods/commodities in India are highly inflated, things are still very affordable in India when compared to US.
9) India has a very good public transport system. Man, I love it. Yes, the buses and trains are crowded. But, if you have to go somewhere they're AVAILABLE for you. There are lots of options including trains, buses, cabs, autos, & (my favorite) share autos.
10) Auto rickshaws are available throughout the city. The auto owners/cab owners have become high tech. They all own a mobile phone. You can just give them a call and they'll be at your door in a few minutes.
11) There are number of public parks that are maintained well. All such parks have play structures for kids. Of course, you cannot compare with what you can get in US. At the same time, you are not settling for less in India. (Also read: Mahabalipuram, Muttukadu & Crocodile Park visit)
12) All "hi-tech" gadgets such as iPods, iPhones, Wii, laptops/netbooks etc., are available in India.
13) You can do financial transactions such as banking/stock-trading/fund-transfers etc., online. You don't have to call your broker or visit a bank to do 'common' transactions.
14) There are ATMs available everywhere. There is no charge involved for using other bank's ATMs (You can do up to 5 transactions per month in other bank's ATMs).
15) People don't care about what you wear, anymore. Girls wearing skirts, T-shirts, sleeveless or tight dresses is so common, now a days.
16) You don't have to look for down towns to buy things for your family. There is all kinds of stores/shops available close to the community where you live.
17) You don't have to worry about paying huge costs for medical services. Medical insurance is getting popular in India. Most of the employers take care of your medical bills through medical insurance.
18) There are toastmasters clubs available in different parts of India. If you have been part of them in US, you can continue your membership in India.
19) Mobile phones are available everywhere. People in India are highly accessible at all the times. You can walk into a roadside shop to buy a pre-paid card and you have to just pay for what you USE. Signal coverage is awesome & cost of a call is very cheap.
20) There are fitness centers (gyms) in all the residential communities. Also, there are fitness centers/tennis courts/swimming pools, that are open for memberships, in almost every area. Builders today are focusing more on the extra amenities available in the residential communities.
21) You don't have to call/disturb your friend during the middle of his/her work to drop or pick you up from some place (especially, when you are giving your vehicle for service). You can use the inexpensive public transportation options.
22) It would be hard to lead a 'luxurious' life in US. However, if you earn sufficient money in US, you can definitely lead a 'luxurious' life in India. The cost of living has definitely gone up. But, you'll feel the benefit of 1 USD = INR 45. (Also read: How much money do you need to R2I?)
23) Home-makers/House wife will not be "bored" at home, in India. They can soon find friends in the neighborhood/communities. Women in India have greater flexibility these days to go out and be on their own. Women also enjoy a lot more freedom and they are treated on-par with men.
24) Kids don't have to be in day care. They can spend time with their grand parents, at home.
25) Education in India is affordable (compare it to the $1000+ you pay in US every month for schools).
26) There are lots of good schools (including international schools) in India providing high quality education.
27) Schools in India are not just focusing only on 'academics' these days. For example, my daughter attending pre-KG in a local nursery school, gets to do lots of coloring, art work, physical exercises, and they're teaching stuff like Sanskrit verses/GK etc., Imagine what would a 5th grade or 10th grade student would get to do.
28) It is very easy for kids to get spoiled in U.S, when they reach their adult hood. They get involved in dangerous habits such as smoking, drugs, early sex etc.,
29) Indian environment is highly competitive and that can bring the best out of your kid. The whole world acknowledges the fact that Indian kids are 'smart'. The credit goes to our culture, value system, education, competitive society etc.,
30) In India, kids get to learn more about religious values (by visiting temples often, participating in festivals/functions, hearing about ancient 'good over evil' stories & moral stories from schools/elders, etc.,). This definitely helps in shaping up their character.
31) There are stores that sell items for new born & toys for kids. Almost all the toys that you buy in US for kids are available in India.
32) Kids will develop a high immunity system, if brought-up in India.
33) Kids brought up in India will know the importance of 'taking care of parents, when the parents get old'. You don't have to spend your "last few years" alone or in senior citizens care center (i.e., old age homes).
When you show utmost importance/care to your parents, you'll kids will learn from your gesture.
34) When your kids grow in US, they'll will pick up American accent. The grand parents/relatives in India may not be able to understand them. Also, the kids may not like to talk to grand parents.
35) In US, kids get addicted to all the electronic gadgets & gizmos. This is not good for your kid's health/mind.
36) If you return back to India during your kid's early childhood days (preferably, before he/she goes to school), it is easy for him/her to get accustomed to the things in India, . If your kids are very young, it makes more sense for you to return back now.
37) You don't want your kid to get married to a non-Indian (say, Chinese or American), when they grow up.
38) Your parents in India are already very old.
39) Your parent(s) in India, are sick and need your assistance. (Also read: Chikungunya - Deadly !)
40) You have a single parent and you need to take care of him/her
41) Your parents have been pestering you to come back to India for a while now.
42) Your spouse has a good education/degree, but cannot work in US because he/she doesn't have an IT background. Your spouse continues to be a home maker and is always bored at home. Your spouse wants to come back to India and settle down.
43) It is tough to find a bride from India, if you are a bachelor working in US. The craze about 'US based bridegrooms' is gone.
Convenience / Good Support System
44) You can hire someone to do your household work at a reasonable price.
45) You don't have to drive your car. You can employ someone as driver. It is not even imaginable in US.
46) Elders (Grand parents) are there to take care of the kids (giving them bath, dressing them up, feeding them, telling them interesting stories, putting them to sleep etc.,)
47) Gone are those days, where you have to go to banks to open an account or apply for a credit/debit card. All such services are provided at your door steps. You've to just make a phone call. They'll even fill the forms for you.
48) Service reps knock your door to sell Telephone/Internet/TV connections. You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing your Telephone/Internet/TV service providers. The prices are very competitive.
49) Doctors/Hospitals are available at 'walkable' distance from your home. For Rs.100, you get treatment for general illness such as cough, cold, stomach upset etc.,
50) Plumbers, Electricians, Movers, Construction workers etc., are abundant. You can get any construction/repair work done in no time. (People who own a house in US, can understand the importance of this)
51) You don't have to take your car for a car wash, every month. You can get people who'll do car wash at your home on a daily/weekly basis.
52) Every service provider (TV, Internet, Phone, etc.,) has a decent customer support system/infrastructure in place. You can call and talk to a customer service representative 24 x 7. There are also facilities to file complaints & escalate them online, if required.
53) There are people/services available to take care of all your needs. Have you heard about service/help desks such as Service Square
Tangibles & some cool benefits
54) People don't look down on you because you returned back from US. People appreciate the fact that you care for your parents/family/society/country/people.
55) People come to you for advise on important things (such as which Engineering courses to take, how to prepare for job interviews, how is the present IT climate etc.,). They value your experience.
56) If you've already got your US Citizenship, it is well & good. This is the right time to return back to India. You don't have to worry about yearly trips to US, to retain your residency.
57) If you are a visa holder & if your visa is about to expire, this is the excellent time to return back to India. You won't have the option of going back to US (unless you wait for another year and get a new L1/H1B).
58) If you are a GC holder, I pity you. You'll be caught in a dilemma whether to return back or not. However, think about the reason which prompted you to go to US. Most likely, you would've gone to US to earn money. If you had met that objective, it is time for you to return back. Also, if you return back as a "liaison" for a US company, you will have an option to make frequent trips to US. You can meet the criteria for '6 months stay' in US, every year.
59) If most of your assets/investments are in India, you should return back to manage/enjoy those assets/investments.
60) It is easy for you to get caught into the "n+1"th year syndrome. You'll keep postponing your decision for several years until you reach a point where you or your family can't return back to India. So, if you are contemplating about returning back, you should do it NOW.
61) In India, When you or your spouse/kid is sick, there will be enough people (family members/relatives/neighbors) to take care of/support you. In US, you've to fully rely on your friends for help/support.
62) If your goal is to earn "unlimited" amount of money, there is no end to the need for more money. Think of your life style a few years ago. With the money that you have today, you can definitely lead a better life in India. Many of us go to US to earn money. So, if you have made good sum of money, it is a good time to return back. (Also read: How much money do you need to R2I?)
63) There are lots of festivals/functions throughout the year. Pongal/Sankaranthi, Diwali, Ramzan, Christmas etc., are celebrated in a special way. You get the joy of a real celebration of festivals only in India.
64) You would've visited a number of places in US. But, you might not have seen all the different tourist places in India. Moving to India would give you enough time to visit different places in India. You can get to learn more about India's rich culture & heritage, by traveling across different states.
65) In India, you can extend the life of several items that you use on a day to day basis. For example, you don't have to throw away shoes/clothes, because the stitches have come-off. People at road side shops will do the repair for you. There are shops that will do repair of electronic/electrical items at a very reasonable price.
66) Yes, Indian roads are congested. But, if you are used to long commutes in US, it wouldn't be a big issue. In US, you've to really start from home at 7 (or before) if you want to beat the traffic. In India, you can start by 8 to beat the traffic. Hey! you get an hour of extra sleep. In the worst case, you can even go to work by 10.30 or 11.00 am. People don't expect you to be at work, so early.
67) In India, you don't have to carry a lip guard with you all the time. You don't have to wear shoes all the time (Wearing slippers are so common). You don't have to wear thick dresses, all the times. It is always "summer" in India.
68) You don't need maps or GPS when you are traveling on the Indian roads. You can pull over your car to a petrol bunk or a road-side shop to get driving directions.
69) There are number of budding start-ups & MNCs in India. You'll have more options now, in addition to the standard service companies (TCS, Infosys & Wipro). (Also read: R2I - List of MNCs in Chennai Cost to Company (CTC) - Peeling the Onion)
70) In the past, only maintenance work is done out of India. Today, there is lots of product development activities being offshored to India. If you are passionate about hard core product development, you can now do it from India.
71) The pay in India is really good. Of course, the pay scale cannot match what you can earn in US. However, it is more than enough to lead a luxurious life in India. (Also read: 10 Tips for Return to India (R2I) Salary Negotiation)
72) In US, you cannot lead a comfortable family life with a single pay check, after some point. Both the husband & wife have to work to run the family. Otherwise, you won't be able to save much.
73) Indian work environment is getting more westernized. Though there are some managers who still breath down your neck, it is NOT so common, these days. (Even in US, if you are reporting to Asian managers, they micro manage you. Most of the managers in US are Asians, anyway. So, why care about micro management when you are in India!?)
74) If you are returning from US to India, you can really get a very good designation.
75) You don't get the feeling of 'loneliness' at work. Shared cubicles make it very easy to interact with other folks.
76) You don't have to walk to the cafeteria to get a drink/coffee/snack. In many offices, it is served at your cubicle.
77) You can easily impress everyone at work by your ability to communicate well (Thanks to the exposure that US gave you).
78) Having been in US for sometime, you'll have the "full product development" exposure. This will significantly increase your value & dependency at the work place.
79) You can easily take a break in India and kick-start your own venture. You'll have an opportunity to test your entrepreneurial skills (Note: Leading a life in US, without monthly pay checks is tough. If you have earned decent money in US, you can easily lead a life without pay checks, in India). If you want to take an early retirement to do the things that you are passionate about, you should consider R2I.
80) You can freely switch jobs from one company to the other. You don't have to be worried about your legal status or visa transfers.
81) The concept of 'being a consultant' to an IT company is getting popular these days. If you like, some companies offer short-term work opportunities too. There are a few companies that allow you to work just for 4 hours per day.
82) Many companies have infrastructure to let employees work from home (which was unimaginable, a decade ago)
83) If you are on a work permit visa & you lost your job & you couldn't find one for a long time now & your family is dependent on your pay check - You cannot legally stay in US & you should return back to India.
(Also read: Work environment in India - Then & Now)
84) India is growing at a tremendous pace. You can get high returns from both stock market & real estate, for your investments. Long term capital gains from stocks aren't taxed in India. If you keep your stocks for more than a year, you don't have to pay any tax. (Also read, Stock Trading Lessons)
85) There is lots of options when it comes to medical treatment. Homeopathy/Ayurvedic treatments are quite popular in India. You can get treatment for 'severe/serious issues, at a very affordable cost. In fact, many westerners are coming to India for 'affordable treatment', these days.
86) Making yearly trips to India from US, becomes unaffordable & not economically feasible, when the family size grows.
87) Your favorite KFCs, Subways, & McDonalds restaurants are now available in several places in India. You won't miss them, here.
88) There are lots of good RESTAURANTS. There is a wide range of dining options - starting from the road side trucks to revolving restaurants. Having been in US for quite sometime, it feels so good to taste authentic Indian food.
89) You get a wide range of fruits & vegetables in India. Moreover, they're very fresh and tasty. They're not imported & not genetically modified. If you are a vegan, you can even get milk substitutes such as 'calcium enriched Soymilk'. In fact, soymilk in India comes in a variety of flavors.
90) Non-vegetarians will have lots of choice, too. Sea food is sold very fresh at your door steps. You can get fresh meat/chicken from a nearby shop (You don't have to eat frozen meat, anymore!!). Also, you can get a lot of spices for cooking your non-vegetarian dishes. In US, it is hard to find lots of spices that are commonly available in India.
91) When you go to a grocery shop, you don't have to know/remember the 'English' name for a Indian grocery item. By the way, all the grocery chains sell unadulterated & neatly packed groceries. You can go around the shop with a cart and pick the items that you want. You'll have the same shopping experience that you had in US. Of course, the stores in India are smaller.
Reasons close to heart
92) You get to live with your parents/family. My (& my wife's) parents are very happy that we are back. They feel more confident these days & I could see happiness on their face. They worked very hard & spent years in making our life successful. We can never pay them back in entirety. But, being with them during their old age is a small contribution that we can make. Let me share with you an incident. After my return, I had once visited the parents of my friend (My friend is in US). I could literally see tear on their eyes, when they said "I'm not sure if my son/daughter (masking the gender, intentionally) would return back. The more years pass by, it is getting more uncertain. But, you made a very good decision to return back! I'm happy for you and your parents". I couldn't control my tears as well. I didn't know how to console them. You can understand how much impact the R2I decision creates, on the parents.
93) Our government/society played a significant role in shaping us & our life. We are what we are because of our society and the contribution of our schools, colleges, teachers, and friends. Isn't it time for us to return that favor back?
94) We are so lucky to have got the opportunity to travel across borders... to explore the unknowns and earn a lot of wealth/fame. Shouldn't we provide the same opportunity to others also? Shouldn't we train the folks in India to be competent?
95) You've seen how things are in U.S. You have now got an opportunity to improve things in India.
96) Go back in time and recollect why you went to U.S, in the first place? Were your goals achieved? If so, you should consider returning back to India. There is never a perfect/ideal time to return back. So, don't procrastinate. Tomorrow never comes.
97) Constant feeling of getting to the roots in India. Feeling guilty about postponing your R2I decision?
98) Are you always feeling "alienated", in US? You couldn't completely get accustomed to the culture/people etc., in US? Neither able to lead an 'American' life nor able to lead an 'Indian' life. It is not just you, your kids may also have the same problem when they grow up.
99) You feel that your life in US has become so "mechanical" or "monotonous". You desperately want a change in your life. You want a break in your career.
100) India needs educated & smart people like you. We have complained about the infrastructure, people, politics and policies in India for several years. What are we doing to fix those issues? We are the 'cream' of India. Shouldn't we put your competency to best use in India?
This is accurate to the best of my knowledge, at the time of writing. I haven't made any efforts to cross check some of my conclusions/assumptions.
I'll put my best effort in keeping this uptodate. However, please double check the latest policies/procedures before making your decision to R2I. I'm not legally responsible for your decision to R2I and the outcomes of it.
If this blog post gave you enough ammunition to your R2I decision, then I've met my objective.
Wishing you all the best with your R2I !!
Returning back to India - 25 things to do
R2I - List of things to pack/bring from US
10 things to consider before you decide to R2I