I have migrated to Australia in 2002, I have spent 13 years of my life here. While it’s been a good portion of my life that I had lived here, I always feel grateful to experience this country, people and lifestyle.
No seriously think of it this way, I was born in a country with one billion population where the majority of the people live below the poverty line. I don’t want to calculate probability but the number will be very low.
How lucky one can be to be born in such a place, that too to parents who are not rich but well above the poverty line and not all people above poverty will have the ability and right chances to immigrate to a developed country for a better lifestyle.
I came here to do my masters, I still remember the day fresh in my memory, the drive from the airport, smell and the first impressions.
I come from a place where most of the days were hot, it used to always make me smile on a wet rainy day. Summer was most hated of all seasons because of the extreme temperatures.
To make my visit even more welcoming, it was drizzling on my way from the airport, all I could do was admire the greenery, roads and infrastructure.
Fast-forwarding 13 years, I don’t miss any opportunity to bask in the sun, I like warm and sunny days now. If it’s a cloudless day, I find it hard to stay indoors.
Let’s say it has got nothing to do with me getting older, but I would rather like to think of it as a result of constant exposure to wet weather and Melbourne’s cold sea breezes.
Coming from a country where the average salary in those days was $200 everything looks expensive here. In India most of the goods are sold in subsidy by the government so as the poor can afford it, if these subsidies are removed, the cost of living in India itself will be higher.
Adding to this is the exchange rate of dollar to rupee, where one Australian dollar equals 24 rupees. I couldn’t get rid of the habit of converting all the prices to the rupee.
To make financial sense of anything that I want to purchase I have to convert it to rupee, and eventually, it will look expensive and ended up almost not buying (this might be a subconscious strategy for me to save money as international student-I don’t know).
Things were cheaper back then compared to now. Funny how the theory of relativity works, to make anything cheaper expose yourself to an expensive item first, this technique is used in sales quite often than we know.
Even though life is great here, I somehow miss the place I came from. No matter how long I stay in this country I don’t think I can be an Australian, don’t get me wrong, this is the most livable city in the world.
If a person was born and bought up in a country for 24 years, he is bred and trained to live in that society well. I think this is true and is definitely true in my case. As we grow old, the materialistic life tends to lose its grip on our soul, and the realization of out of place grows day by day. I can be out of India but India will always be part of me. My daughter who is born here, if she lives here for 20 years, I don’t think she will ever call India home.
No matter how friendly people are at work, social and other occasions, I always feel a sense of not belonging here, an emptiness in heart. Going back to India might fulfil this cavity, which I plan to in the next few years, but there will be other problems awaiting in India.
For instance, I have never worked in India, I came here as a student and started my career here. Thanks to the current job I do, it has given me good insights into professional life in India.
I agree it’s not easy to work in India, it’s political and the dog eats dog environment. This will be the most challenging part that I have to face, professional life in Australia is laid back, where family and work life is balanced.
When I tell above plans to any of my Australian mates, the first thing they would say is I will live like a king with all the money from here. This can’t be further from the truth, the cost of living in India is a lot higher than here.
Let me explain before you grunt in disagreement, for anyone who is living in a developed country, we got used to a certain type of lifestyle. It’s always easier to go up in lifestyle than down, it’s a lot harder for you to live without a car or cancelling your child’s extra classes or turning off that air-condition during hot days.
There are families in India who live under $200 per month income and there are families with $200k per month in income. If you want to maintain the same lifestyle that of a developed country in India, then it will cost you a lot more than here.
The other biggest concern and which I have little control over is for my daughter, Indian society is not a place that nourishes and encourages women. It is a lot harder for women to be recognized for their talent and is seldom given the right reward that they deserve.
Women in India are protected by parents and handed over to husband, rather than empowering them with an equal social status to men. I don’t see this changing any time soon, it has a lot to do with movies marketing western culture superficially without understanding the core values.
I am limited to placing her in a good school and provide her with an environment that nurtures her into a better human. I want her to grow with her own identity rather than being part of the parent’s identity or husband’s identity.
Even though there are a lot of known and unknown challenges that I have to face moving back to India, I wish to forget them among parents and family. It also feels content to be with parents and support them during their old age.