What is it like moving back to India ?

02 Mar, 2008
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Well! Last week I have completed one year of my stay in India after living in abroad for 7+ years. Thought I would share some of the stuff that i have gone through during this one year.
I come from south part of India and like many Indians, I went to abroad (Australia) to pursue my Master degree in IT. (I still don’t know why US embassy in Chennai rejected my student visa ;)). Spent nearly 2 years in Australia, then I got a job to work in Geneva, Switzerland for United Nations. Lived in Switzerland for 5 years. I was also travelling a lot for work purpose and covered almost 12 countries in that 7+ years (lucky me). So the point is, I got used to the some of the good things in abroad life like quality environment, work timings and company culture, respect for nature, road infrastructure, and easy accessibility for document clearance and so on. The other side is always green, don’t they?

There is nothing like your mother land. After being married for 1.5 years, one fine day me and my wife decided to move back to India from Switzerland. It was not an easy decision for us as I was worried how I am going to fit myself back to Indian work culture. In India competition is very high, so you need to keep proving yourself in your work, education and so on. This will obviously lead to politics in work environment. So I took a great care on choosing my future company in India. I have posted my resume in Naukri and Timesjob. Within few hours I got plenty of interview calls. Funny though, many companies were very suspicious why I want to come back to India. Within few weeks I rounded with job opportunities from Google, IBM, Franklin Templeton and Xebia. I took Xebia offer for many good reasons, especially for its technical offerings on Spring Hibernate Maven Agile and so on.
Xebia is located in Gurgaon, North India and so people in Gurgaon mainly speak Hindi. Now, as I come from south India, in particular from Tamilnadu, I don’t even know a bit of Hindi and I also don’t know anyone in Gurgaon before. That’s created another challenge for me. Before moving to India, I did some background work on house rental cost, lifestyle, living expense, internet facilities and so on. Xebia gave their company email access to me in-prior, so I also started bugging my new colleagues for tips and suggestions. Anurag, Jyoti, Piryanshu and Vikas gave me lots of tips. With these tips in mind and with big confidence in heart, I landed in Gurgaon on Feb 25th 2007.
Within the first 3 weeks, i managed to find a 3BHK apartment with the help of A new friend cum brother called Mr. Sutharman helped me a lot in getting the new telephone and internet connection from BSNL. He also helped me in buying furniture’s from a store in Delhi. Managed to get a cooking gas connection within 2 days from ‘Uruvasi gas agency’. Company opened a bank account in ABN AMRO and the bank gave me the ATM card within 1 month. Contrary to what I had experienced 8 years back, BSNL operators were after me on making sure that I get the telephone connection. Uruvasi gas agency delivered the gas cylinder very quickly and they were angry with me for NOT being at home when they came earlier twice.
Every day at least one person knocked my home for Ironing service, gardening, maid service, car washing and so on. I use to negotiate the price and talk to them by waving my hands and head all around (oh!.. still today I do it).
I was amazed to see the growth of India after 8 years. Gurgaon is full of high raise buildings, big malls, BPO and IT companies. If you want to see the developed India then come and see Gurgaon. Having said that be careful while driving in India, road rage is part of daily news in news papers. While officially we drive in left hand side, in the suburb areas we also like to drive in the middle of the road, and sometime even in the right side. The municipal corporation is now building 1 feet divider to avoid this problem. See!… India is changing and growing. Many information were available in internet now and online shopping sites were also growing a lot. Still today I never paid any bribe to get some work done in Gurgaon with the Governmental sectors. See!… India is shining as well.
If you are thinking about moving back to India and if you have some specific question or doubt in mind, then please post it here, I will try to answer for it.

Balaji D Loganathan
Working as a Senior Consultant at Xebia India IT Architects Private Limited, Gurgaon, India.

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