Friday, August 05, 2005


I'm off to Texas A&M university on a fellowship to the department of Mechanical Engineering next week. Here's what I am thinking right now. It's getting too much to handle.

I had always looked down upon those who leave India in search of greener pastures abroad. I had always held that their attitude was mercenary; and it was just the lust for wealth and the good life that led them abroad. It is therefore very ironic that I shall be flying into the US of A for a very selfish reason - personal gratification. I tell myself that it is the research I crave; I tell myself there are no comparable facilities in India. I tell myself that there is no other option for me but to board that Airbus and be off to come back (for good) only after a few years have gone by.

But it does me great shame to glance out my window; I see the poor beside the street battle the incessant downpours that Maharashtra has to offer; I see a country languishing in filth, poverty and degradation. A country that needs all the brains that it can get; a country that can ill-afford to educate people like yours truly to ditch it in its hours of need. But yet I choose the Airbus. It is a feeling of deep rooted guilt in my heart: a feeling that I have done the Indian taxpayers a big wrong. I feel a pang of guilt whenever I look at a poor man in India. A sense of shame. I have failed them. And there is NOTHING I can do about it.

I tell myself that India will take time, but it will surely get there. I tell myself, the forces of capiatlism will convert India into a large wealth generator. I tell myself India has a future. I tell myself that I'll be back - to work in India, for India as a professional. I tell myself that India is surely the land of opportunity; it shall be a rational economic choice to come back to India for anyone in a few years. I love India after all. Another bonus, of course, is that I will be close to my parents.

But it's a little more than emotion to that right now. The best job I can get with all the coaching that IIT has given me right now is with GE. GE does not solve any of India's problems. It just solves outsourced problems. Just a glorified call center. I could get into MNCs with their operations in India such as KPMG (I had an offer from them); but that's not my core competence. I am a Mechanical Engineer who has done work in Heat and Fluids. Where can I use that knowledge? Defence is out; I am a pacifist. I convince myself sordidly; the only way out is to go out.

Five years ago, I vowed never to leave India. I vowed to stay; brave the conditions and still emerge successful. I have failed myself. Will I fail myself again? If I do so, I'll lose all faith in myself. And I also know that if I fail myself later, I'll have a good reason for it. They all do.

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