September 23, 2007

NRI to ex-NRI

On 10th Septemebr 2007, I landed back on indian soil after a six month long stay at Los Angeles starting 10th March. The trip back to India was better than expected, Singapore city tour organized by Singapore Airlines and the roaming with my friend and her husband in Singapore Metro rail was enough to spend the eight hours delay time between the flights. By taking the transit pass in Singapore, my passport now has the seal of one more country other than US!

While landing in Chennai, I was thinking about what one of my managers who was settled in US told. Only when you land back in India you will feel how better the US actually is, how good the infrastructure is and how better the roads are. But while in the car, I felt as if I landed after a domestic trip and found everything normal except for the noise outside (of automobile horns). Its true that later on, I came closer to reality when I had to fight hard with the Chennai mosquitoes to sleep!!But none of these small inconveniences could overcome the comfort I felt for being in my home country, being able to eat Dosa-Idli for breakfast and rice for lunch, and being able to walk un-afraid on the roads where you are never alone.

From another perspective, life becomes tougher when you are back here. Travelling in Chennai buses is horrible as you have to struggle to find leg space, compare it to the big spacious air conditioned Metro buses in LA!. You obviously start missing the all-time-pleasant climate and the cleaner surroundings in LA. The simple courtesies of life - of saying thank you and opening the door for a stranger - makes a lot of impact on your daily life. Back here its a cat race where everyone is in a hurry to get ahead, yet we say life is faster in US!.

On this Sept 21st, I am four years old as a software professional. I felt really happy and contented while walking through the roads near Satyam, Thousand Lights, and the CSI building which was the training center for my first job. Those were enthusiastic days, time of curiosity to find out what the job of a software engineer was and preparing best to do that dream job well. I felt proud for reasons not unknown, probably the thought that I have achieved what I have never thought about when I started my career, which kept my spirits high while walking through those roads again.

To check how the old places have changed, I went to T.Nagar shopping area near Ranganathan street. I was in the Titan watches showroom inquiring about some of the expensive models, the sales guy looked at my company ID and asked "are you working for XYZ company?". I got amused, I did see the guy looking at my Id card to read the company name but it was surprising that he knew about my company. Has my company name become famous in India while I was in US? With pride and lot of self esteem that I am working for one of the top MNCs I said "yes". Then came the next question: "what is the fees for MS office training now?". He had, as any local Chennaite would, thought that I am from the popular local training center with the same name!! I quickly concluded my browsing of the premium watches then and there and ran out of the showroom with a quick explanation of what the three letters on my ID card meant!. Later, I found myself happy that not much has changed here while I was out of the country and this city!

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