"Don't do it," several different cab drivers advised us, on different occasions. Or, "Makes sense. Why stay so far away from family?"
... In Canada, any conversation is an open invitation for everyone to join in!
Seriously though, it seems like everyone has an opinion on whether to live in India. Several of our friends have decided to move abroad over the last few years. Some get official transfers, and others decide to go over and try their chances. At the same time, people who have spent years in foreign countries have also decided to move back to India in the recent past.
For us, the question wasn't, 'Should we move back to India?'
It was, 'Should A start his own company?'
The answer to the latter question is a resounding yes from my side, and a slightly shakier amen from A. Moving back to India is the inevitable side effect. (We seem to believe in each other's dreams more than our own, so it all works out).
I'm not saying we didn't talk it through, going over the pros and cons ad nauseum. But at the end of the day, it really boiled down to one thing - it was where he could get started with the company. His network is here. It's cheaper here. The business problem he wants to solve is more relevant here. And so here we are. The daily cons we experience - no sidewalks, no zebra crossings, and of course literal con men - don't make life easy, but are easy to ignore given we have a very good reason for being here.
That said, here's my tuppence's worth on whether you should move back to India, or stay here - nope. Not unless you have one of those solid reasons that cancel out everything else. Otherwise, even the richest person in this country still can't buy clean air, to name but one thing.
I'm not one of those foren-returned snobs who turns up their nose at everything. Give me a break, I'm from here. None of this stuff is hard to get used to. But at the same time, it's just stupid to accept it all, when there's an alternative. I can't be one of those people who say India is the best, we invented the zero, etc. Of course I love being home and having friends and family close by (not to mention great food). But I think it's more patriotic to accept that for all its strengths, this country has some serious flaws. If you don't fret and fume about the flaws, how can you fix them? 'It's always been like this,' is just not good enough. I could spend my entire life trying to improve things in India - I've fund-raised and volunteered; I even pick up trash that's not my own - but I'm rather cynical about the outcome. I'd like to imagine this country can be fixed by the time my grandchildren grow up, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
There are many people whose entire lives have been built here, and who are happy. But I firmly believe that they can be much happier elsewhere. Maybe there are exceptions to this rule. The strictly orthodox older demographic who've never lived anywhere else may just not be capable of change when it comes to dietary habits, for instance. My opion is addressed to my own generation, not theirs.
If you only live once, surely you'd want to live without having to fight to get the most basic necessities? I don't mean clothing and shelter, I mean efficient healthcare and decent breathing spaces. And that's why I wouldn't recommend living here if you didn't have a very good reason to.