My experience after returning from USA to India


I returned to India after living in USA for about 12 years. A lot of people ask me about my experience after returning to India from USA. In this post, I will cover my first 2 months experience after coming back to India.

I returned to India after living in USA for about 12 years. Our return to India was a well planned one. We started our preparations few years ago. We prepared our self well and helped our kids to be prepared to deal with the problems they are going to face here. I will talk about those in another post. In this post, I will cover in detail our experience after returning to India.

Our experience after returning to India


It has been about 10 weeks after we came back to India for good. I think we have got a good feel of what we are going to deal with here. I am sharing my R2I (Return to India) experience for those who are considering return to India.

If you don't have the patience to read the full story, here is the short summary:

We feel very good about our decision to return to India. We feel if we had not come back to India, we would have missed a lot in our life.



Now, don't jump in to conclusions that returning to India will be a cake walk for everyone, especially if they spent several years abroad. There are several factors that made our return to India a smooth and painless process:

1. We were well determined that India is our final destination. We did not want to die in a foreign land.

2. We always kept close connection with India. We were watching Indian movies, eating Indian food, had only Indian friends (except colleagues and neighbors) and followed only Indian news. We lived in America like typical Indians. We had a backyard full of Indian vegetables.

3. Our kids were constantly advised that their future life will be in India and they will not be allowed to follow the American system and culture. They were constantly told that "parents rule the home".

4. Most importantly, we had my online websites which were bringing us revenue. Most of our websites were targeting Indian audience. The nature of business would allow me to manage it from anywhere in the world. Living in USA, Antarctica or India would make no difference on running my business, as long as I have a laptop connected to the web. This factor alone gave me a lot of confidence in making the decision to move back to India.

Problems faced in India after returning from USA


When we decide to come back to India, we were warned by our friends in India and USA about the problems we are going to face. So, we were well prepared to face anything. We were literally looking for problems, so that we can deal with them:-)

Our first 2 months were surprisingly calm and cool. I can't point out any serious concerns or problems that is worth mentioning after coming back to India from USA. However, let me point out some minor issues that everyone face here, which are more noticeable to NRIs who return to India.

1. Mosquitoes: This may not sound like a big problem, but that was the only one reason which made my son asked us (only once) about returning to USA.

Eventually, we learnt to keep the windows closed, fix mosquito net on the windows etc which made us forget this problem within few days.

During the first few days, the Mosquito bite would cause skin rash to my kids. But I think they eventually got the resistance power. Mosquitoes still bite all of us, but don't cause the same level of irritation as it used to do in the beginning.

2. Dirt, mud, pollution: This may be a problem for lot of people, but does not bother us much. Kids always like playing in dirt and mud, so, this is not a problem for them as well.

3. Indian Bathrooms: In last several years, we visited India many times. During each vacation, we had a very tough time making our kids use the Indian toilets. They did not like walking on the wet bathroom floors. This did not change even when we spent several weeks in India on vacation. We were really afraid how would they manage when they return to India for good. However, once we moved to India for good, it took only few days for them to start using the Indian toilets like any other Indians. I think, since they got the feeling that this is where they are going to live, they just decided not to act like an American any more!

4. Internet connection: Slow internet is a typical complaint, so I decided to go for a very high speed connection. But I faced an unusual problem. It took about 4 weeks and more than 100 phone calls to get an broad band connection. This is a very rare case. Finally, I had to go to the extend of blogging about my bad experience with Airtel. I wrote with the title "Best broadband internet service providers in India" and wrote about the bad experience from Airtel. When this blog started getting lot of attention, they got fire on tail and acted quickly.

5. No discipline anywhere (and I did not expect it either). People drive crazy (and so am I now). No one will stay in the line to enter a place or pay the cash in shop.

6. Traffic: I work from home, so we do not drive much. Most of our drive is searching for good food in the city. If we want to go for a lunch at about 10km distance, we need to plan to hit the road atleast 1 hour earlier. But we love driving in India because of the eventful driving experience in here. And it gives us good family time. Kevin - our youngest boy will be "tied" to the child seat in the car and he is quite happy there. This is the only time we can ever keep him not moving. At home, I can't stay away from the laptop (I will probably need some treatment for that soon!). So, the traffic delay on road would give us enough time to talk! But this may not be the case for other working people. If your work place is 10km away from home, be prepared to spend 2-3 hours on roads in India.

Our overall experience after returning to India


We may be missing a few things after we returned to India from USA. But believe me, we never bothered to think about anything we missed. Some of the small problems we faced after returning to India were just part of life. If not these, there were other problems in USA. Overall, we feel extremely happy about our decision to move back to India. We chose the right time to return. Kids are at the best age to come back and adjust here. We spent a good amount of our life time in USA and experienced the other side of the world. Now we are happy to be back home.


Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.

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Comments

Guest Author: sankar03 Jan 2012

I read your post and its nice to hear the real time experiences. you mentioned that you wanted to have Indian culture and not to die in foreign land. I have a question that i would like to ask just in curiosity, not sure if you had any reason behind it. Do not take this in a negative way.

Why did you choose your kids names completely so Not Indian? You mentioned you were preparing to settle in India from the beginning.

Guest Author: 03 Jan 2012

Thanks for the comments.

Why do you think those names are not Indian? My first son is named after my dad, which means the name has been in use in India for 68+ years! The names we chose are common Christian names in India. Traditionally, Christians choose the name of saints for the kids, but the new generation started using 2-4 letter names (like Tony, Tim and so on...).

Guest Author: Arvinder Singh30 Jan 2012

Tony,

I am very inspired by your article. Thanks for sharing your experience

I guess now it must be sometime since you moved back to India. How is your experience now?

Also I would like to ask: How did your parents or relatives react to your decision of permanent coming to India after 12 years.

Guest Author: Always Desi13 Feb 2012

Some time I also feel like life is hell here in USA. I have luxurious car but still missing my scooty to chill in small town streets. Heres lot of big cinema but no old friends to enjoy movie. In short I can say USA is best place to live in but only if you born here or moved here long ago when India was very poor. And people who migrated before 2000, they had reason to move to USA, but in 2012 I dont find any reason that anyone should move overseas. its hard to accept but true for most people................... "Made in India, Made by India, Made for India."

Guest Author: Ravi20 Mar 2012

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the nice articles on R2I. I have a question (maybe I didn't read all of your articles!). What classes did your kids join in India and how did they cope up with the syllabus (incl. language subject)? Thanks in advance for your reply. This is very important to me to take a decision.

Guest Author: Krev15 Apr 2012

Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
We too are in the same situation.
Can you please let me know about the schooling, did you choose CBSE or International School or State board?
Please let me know, I'm totally confused now.

Guest Author: 15 Apr 2012

@Arvinder Singh,

There is nothing much to tell about the response of my family relatives. Probably my mother is happy that I am back, but she never said a word about it. She is a person who always leave everything to me to choose what is good or bad for my future.

@Ravi,

My kids joined at UKG and 3rd. The 3rd grader had to start Hindi and Kannada. We taught him Hindi letters before moving, so he was able to manage. But in 3rd grade, Hindi is pretty advanced and he managed well by mid of the year.

Both my kids scored A+ in all subjects here. I mentioned it here just to show that coming back from USA does not make a difference. As long as the kids are smart, they can pick up pretty quick. It is usually the parents and not the kids who have adjustment problems.

However, when we considered moving to Kerala this year, my child made request: "Daddy, I am in 3rd grade and I will be going to the 5th school next year. Can we live in one place for few years so that I can make some friends and get adjusted to the place?"

It was my strategy to relocate within USA to avoid kids getting bonded too much to any place or make thick friends and it helped. But now he is growing and he was right that we always had "temporary setup" everywhere. Whenever kids ask for something, we will say "next year we will move again, so why don't you wait another year?".

We decided it is time to settle down and so chose not to move to Kerala. As of now, Bangalore is chosen as our final destination, atleast until kids school education is done.

Guest Author: 15 Apr 2012

@Krev,

We preferred CBSE school since it is relatively easier than ICSE. However, we ended up in an ICSE school We were afraid that kids may not do well in ICSE but now 1 year is completed. My first child ranked #2 in his grade and second child ranked #1 in his grade. Both of them scored A+ in all subjects.

So, if your child is doing well in the school in USA, be confident that they will do well in India as well. If they don't score A or A+ in USA, then you may want to consider CBSE instead of ICSE.

International schools are good only if you want your kids to grow in foreign environment and if you are sure they will go abroad for higher studies and job. If you expect your children to compete with other students and find a job in India, or if you expect them to go for higher studies in colleges like IIT, then International Schools are not an option since they won't give the challenges to the kids to grow in Indian system (of inconvenience, difficulties, challenges, problems...)

Guest Author: priya23 Apr 2012

I wanted to go back to India too. I have been in USA for almost 8 years. But my only concern that is stopping me from going back is my in-laws. They wanted to involve in each and every thing and I felt like they have been running our lives.

But going back to India is always a better idea.

Guest Author: 23 Apr 2012

I always wanted to go back to India. I have been here for almost 8 years. My only concern that is stopping me from going back is my in-laws. They always wanted to involve in each and every thing and I felt like they have been running our lives.

But going to India is always a good decision.

Guest Author: 23 Apr 2012

@Priya Nathan,

That is a reality you will have to face in India if you return.

Guest Author: Yogesh S25 Apr 2012

Hello,
Came across several posts on this article by Tony. I too decided to move back to India on an unfortunate day, when I lost my father in India. Nothing compelled me to move to India except my own feeling and the moral support I could be for my family in coming months.

I have varied experience on returning back unprepared back in 2002:
- My contract back in US was due expiring and then I came to know the client (Telecom giant) was liquidated and closed its shop.
- My assets still in US, so I had to go once to wrap up things and meanwhile I was offered a job by an IT company in India, which I accepted. They were very skeptical that I'd continue in India.
- Things started with well respected overtones by managers, which turned into ugly very soon as I had a hard time to fend off many people's effort to chuck me off the company. Finally I resigned and joined the telecom major.
-I found everywhere that people with very little experience or practically none were kept as my bosses and sometimes I was asked to report to the managers of half my experience and 10 years younger than me, which I found strange.
- I developed a feeling that unless you plan and research an entry in any Indian organization, you will always land in thick of a muck where you lie flat with people laughing on you and then one realizes that he has moved back 10 years back in his career.
- It became struggle to find right placement in my hometown - Delhi, where jobs are less compared to down south.
- An NRI boss (US citizen) in PIO scheme joined in this telecom company with a vast superiority complex. The previous team left the company and I was the only one to continue under him. He used to ask me about my US experience a lot and compared his knowledge often and started weird gestures. I cam to know later that he wanted to replace me with his ex-colleagues to join in this org. I could not tolerate his corporate abusive ways and finally land in MNC in another job.
- Since my skill was very much in demand, I continued working hard and enjoyed all challenges and completed the job wing colors before the organization changed our bosses 6 times. Unfortunately an NRI returned from UK was planted and the similar story of bring his affiliates from various places to replace all of us. Finally he managed to dismantle the entire team to his benefit and strangely our team had few options till we quit.
- I suggest all returning Indians to weigh the work culture change, real estate prices in India, which is costlier than in USA now, etc before you return.
- Honestly I was in retiring mode while returning to India as being in contracting lifestyle for more than a decade in US I felt like burnt off. I cud not plan my trip. Now that I have lost all my Social Security in US and since 2002 I had married and have a sweet son, I still do not regret my decision to come back to India.

- I am still struggling to fit in Indian corporates for and miss the professional life of my days while in US. The balance is of family life, which was absent in US.

Cheers,
Yogesh

Guest Author: Sanky01 Jun 2012

Nice article that boosts your current enthusiasm and make me more bending towards my decision to Return to India. Well, I graduated just last year and despite of having hundreds of relatives, temple to visit every weekend, I am still missing the "Bombaiyaa" lifestyle back here!!
I am still bewildered in regards to whether to return or not. I'll miss the freedom, peace that US has to offer me but at the same time if I return I'll get back the social life I have always wanted. not really sure what to do at this point of time, but yes, my heart says "BOMBAY" in the end!! ;)

Guest Author: Vinu Thomas07 Feb 2013

Hi,

Did you have a Green Card in USA when you moved back?

Is the websites your only source of income? If you dont mind, can you share what kind of websites you run?

How old were you when you came back to India.

I have now been abroad for a few years and would like to go back after another 4-5 years. By then i will be close to 40. So am not sure thats a feasible plan.

But your responses might help.

If you prefer, can you email me those details to vinuthomas.goa@gmail.com

Thanks

Guest Author: 07 Feb 2013

Vinu,

Yes, I do have US Greencard and I applied for Travel Parole, which is valid until this summer. So, if I want to go back to USA, I have time until then.

Yes, websites is my only income, but they are pretty big sites and is considered some of the highest earning individually owned websites in the country. It may not be practical for someone to start a few sites and bring them up to this level. I started some of my websites more than 10 years ago.

I was 39 when I moved to India, after living about 10 years in USA.

What kind of job are you in?

Guest Author: Shankar06 Mar 2013

Hi Tony,
Very nice article. I am also in US for past 2 yrs and would want to return to India after an year. Whatever it is I love staying in India. I am not saying I am more patriotic but something I am missing when I am in US which I could not tell my parents or feeling I am in different land etc. Not sure how to express. But my wife is bit not OK to move back for now which I am trying to convince. I don't want my parents to die when I am here. They are both 63 yrs old and I wanted to be with them. That life we terribly miss here. Sad part is too much comfort and money are being very much priority for us nowadays so we are behind money chase (be it US, Hong Kong , etc). I honor your decision and I believe we could contribute little things for the society. Unfortunately one thing I wanted to share is the same well educated people when in US follow rules starting from garbage disposal to traffic rules. Same guys when in India are not following as like in US. That is so sad to see. When people change themselves, then the society will improve. What is your thought on my move?

Guest Author: Jose04 Jun 2014

Hi Tony,
It is an inspiring article for all who would have a thought of going back to the roots.How would feel about your decision now? If you originally from Kerala why did you choose Bangalore when we have a 'Kochi' there to nurture the best for kids. Advance thanks for your response. I am originally from Kottayam.

Guest Author: 04 Jun 2014

Jose,

It has been 3 years since we moved back to India. Even though we miss a lot of comforts we used to enjoy in USA, we made the right decision. Our kids are growing and we wanted them to grow up here because our roots are here and not because India has a better culture.

We moved to Bangalore for 2 reasons. The primary reason is my business/career, which works better in Bangalore. Second reason is, we thought Bangalore would avoid a culture shock for kids. But we learnt quickly that kids can adapt to any place and any conditions.

We moved back to Kochi last year. After living in Bangalore for more than a year, we realized living in Bangalore will not serve the purpose of returning to India. So we moved back to Kochi and settled here now.

Guest Author: Pratp11 Jun 2014

Hi Tony,
We are planning to return to India too. We are GC holders but want to keep the option open if we want to come back. What were the requirements for travel parole and how long is it valid for? Is there anything else we need to consider to keep the GC status alive?

Guest Author: Sam01 Sep 2014

You made a mistake Tony in leaving US and settling in India that one day you will repent. India is still a garbage, corrupted , filthy country with full of chaos and anarchy.If your internet connection take 1 month to arrive , what will happen to other things. Tell me a single person happy in India? We get used to and immunized to the nonsense.. that is not a solution that is a compromise. if your advanced Parole 131 re-entry is still valid, make a reverse R2USA , I promise you will be far more productive and happy.

Guest Author: Thomas14 Sep 2014

Hi Tony,
Reading your blog was impressive. I am from Ktym and in the U.S East Coast for over 15 years in I.T. field and your blog is a great motivation for R2I plans.

One question: I think you were eligible for U.S. citizenship, any reason you didn't try that prior to your return? I am asking this because many of my friends on GC find it hard to lose GC status and have taken US citizenship.

Guest Author: 14 Sep 2014

Thomas,

I hadn't reached the stage to apply for citizenship. Sometimes I regret for not waiting enough and for not getting the US citizenship. Even if I do not want to go back, I started getting nervous about the future of kids. If they choose to go back, having citizenship for me would have helped me in some or other ways. My first child is an Indian citizen and two others are not. If my first one wish to go to USA in future, having a citizenship for me would have helped in some or other ways.

Guest Author: AJ06 Oct 2014

Awesome Blog Tony. Hats off to you!! I know many Indians who have spent 10 to 30 years in USA and still aspire to go back to India or repent not having done that when there was that window of opportunity. Its very difficult to gather the courage to just pack up, when the dollars are ringing in month after month as an employee or as a Contractor. But you were wise enough to 1) have a game plan and 2) to know that there is life beyond $'s - life is not only about us but giving & sharing us with past(Parents) , Present (Family) & future (kids).

Accidentally landed at your blog since I was researching before setting on a company structure. And after reading all your articles for last 3 hours from August 2011, I just cannot resist but complement you for your placid and smooth, well thought out style of writing. Your writings struck chord with me. I returned from US around the same time with the same story to share, except that I decided that it was time to retire and did not had a career planned. Looking back, I guess probably because of a high burnout factor of being a contractor for 12 years at a stretch. The best part of being now in India is, I could share some quality moments with my parents and kids at the same time. I thank God that I am able to do that while many of my peers do not have that luxury being busy climbing the corporate ladder.

The flip side was about idling around last 3 years that have taught me a lesson in a hard way - the sense of security is not in the bank balance that we aspire for while we are young. It's in what we can offer to the society and retiring from one area and getting into an other is the fact of life. Just do something that your heart wishes the most. Feels like a Sermon, but just wanted to put my 2 cents that may help many of those who are sitting on the fence.

As I always joke around that when we R2I, the youngest settle the fastest as they live moment to moment and the oldest the last as we live in our head --- mostly the analysts kinds like us. One more point is, I have seen similar horror stories that Yogesh narrated above from those who rejoined the corporate bandwagon after R2I and then settled to do something on their own. The quality of Corporate life in US is something I miss in India too, but now I look at them as dark clouds those will eventually pass by.

Last but not the least, I did not want to be one of those repenting in USA at the fag end of the life thinking --- "had I gone back..?". But when I look at the kids and the family around me, absolutely there are NO regrets at all. I always pray to god that "May he give me the courage to discharge my duties by being at the right place at the right time".

Guest Author: Johnson11 Oct 2014

Hi Tony,

It's great to see your experience here. However, I noted that you haven't written any recent posts. Has Cochin dried up your creative well or life is just too busy now?

Have no regrets and don't listen to folks like 'Sam'. You can be happy on either side of the world as long as you choose to be happy. I am grateful for the culture and education I gained in India before I came here, and I am beyond grateful for everything this country, and the great people, has helped me achieve over the last 18 years.

I am in Houston with a family with a 5 year old and a one year old. My wife and I are seriously talking about saving up some money and returning to Kerala in 4 years, and settling in Cochin for at least 10 years.

Do you have any advice for us? How much does it cost to live in Cochin (somewhere near Kakkanad)a month? We do not plan to work (unless I find a great gig) and will have no other stream of income other than the interest on the savings.

Guest Author: Amit25 Feb 2015

Tony, very well written and executed move to India. I am also living in States from last 10 years and my inner core always wanted to move back. We have all the facilities here in USA but that last drop of satisfaction is still missing (at least for me). I have started planning to move back in coming few years. Again thanks for sharing your experience.

Guest Author: Sreekumar04 Jun 2015

Tony,

I read this article completely. It helped me a lot to convince myself that my decision is correct. I am a US citizen and have been working in US for more than 17 years. I have 2 girls and they are 9 and 11 years old. We always had intention to go back to India and we are moving tomorrow. My kids already got admission in a reputed school in Kochi in CBSE syllabus. When we talk to our friends regarding moving, 9 out of 10 will always try to discourage you. They always point out the negative things in India like "guest" mentioned above. When I talked to my IT friends in Kerala, they are always pointing out one thing. It is not easy to get a job in India for a person who has 20+ years of IT experience. Even though you get a job, it would be difficult to adjust with the corporate culture. But I would like go through the process and convince ourselves whether our decision is correct or not. As we know, there are pros and cons for every decisions. As I mentioned, We are moving tomorrow..:). Hope everything will work out as expected.

Guest Author: Smitha10 Oct 2016

Thank you for your article. We are considering moving back to India since I do not want to lose my kids to the American culture. Its not a negative thing, but I would like to know that my children are safe and not lose themselves in a confusing and morally degrading culture. We hope to settle back home.

Guest Author: Bappa10 Nov 2016

My kid is in UKG now and I am planning to go to USA mid next year with family. I am planning to stay there for another 3-4 years. Based on your experience and research what do you think would be the ideal time to return back to India considering kids education? Just worried if Class 5/6 would be okay to start with Indian Boards (CBSE or ICSE).
Thanks in advance!



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