The first thing that anyone would associate an NRI with would be imported chocolates and The Duty Free.
We act as links or bridges between foreign countries and our India.
We are seen by family members as gift bearers and wise men who bring home delicacies of the foreign land as well as tales of another world.
Even today, as technology has taken over and more and more people are settling abroad, there still seems to be an air of mystic surrounding NRIs when they visit back home. Our ways of talking, eating, greeting, the accent (not the fake ones) seem to draw people’s attention to us even without telling them that we are NRI 😛
Even after skyping almost everyday, at our first meeting with family at the airport, it feels as if we are seeing each other after ages. There are tears when we meet them and obviously when we say Goodbye.
Now I would like to point out the pros and cons of being an NRI
- Best of both worlds: Right after birth till my adulthood, my life has been molded in the City of Gold, Dubai, making me a proud NRI. At the same time, I didnt lose my identity of being an Indian. Being brought up in Dubai with my occasional visits to Kolkata, it has given me the best of both worlds. I enjoy my Falafels as much as my Samosa and my Baklavas as much as my Mishti doi. I understand people much better than an ordinary Indian would and I know how to deal with different types of people with all the experience I have obtained living abroad. I enjoy Dubai’s posh lifestyle as well as the simple pleasures and laid back attitude of Kolkata.
- The pride of living abroad: Being an NRI, there is a huge amount of pride in living abroad. Every time, we come home to India for vacations, we are treated like special guests. I love the way how I am pampered by my grandparents and other family members.
- Being more broad minded people: Living abroad has made me a more broad and open minded person. Not just me even my parents are more open minded now as compared to my extended family in India.We dont stereotype people or judge them the way they are as much people living in India do.
- Stuff we get to buy: Dubai is a land full of opportunities for shopping. You can get all sorts of things from around the world. So, as an NRI, I dont understand the concept of “seasons”. In India we have a season for mangoes and likewise other fruits and vegetables too. In Dubai, all year round we can buy things from different parts of the world be it mangoes of Africa or strawberries of USA or fashion designer stuff from around the world.
Hahaha, while being an NRI is fun, its not always easy being one
- You neither belong here nor there. We always are in a Dilemma, yes our passports say that we Indian but we are too Arab to completely call ourselves Indian, or too Indian to become an Arab (Also the fact that we dont get citizenship :P)
- People stereotype *rolling eyes* : “Do you guys travel on Camels?”, “Talk in Arabic na….Yalalalala!!” What is wrong with people?! I am tired of answering these dumb questions…Google Dubai and the pictures you see is exactly how my beautiful city looks like. Yes I refer to Dubai as #MyDubai because I belong there even though I am born an Indian. When it comes to Arabic, its a beautiful language and normal Arabs dont yell at each other or kill each other for the slightest of problems. Yes, there are problems in the Middle East, but stereotyping all countries based on a few is sheer stupidity.
- People automatically assume you are filthy rich: Yes, Dubai is the City of Gold and people do earn well there but it takes hard work and dedication for that. It’s easier to set up and run a business in Dubai than India, which allows more comfort to people to start their own ventures, but based on that you cannot assume each of us has an Oil well inside our house. So, back at India, everybody thinks we get “easy money” and hence, Our money has no value. If we bargain or try to spend a little less money, people say “You have so much money, you live in Dubai, dont be such a miser.”To all those people, I royally show you the finger, and please buzz off.
- The separation from loved ones: Being NRI keeps us away from friends and family for most part of the year. Most of us, get only 1-2 months of leave every year. We may miss out on family functions, events, times of grief etc. Long distance relationships become unbearable.
But, once an NRI, always an NRI.