[This is first part of a 3-part post - The Dilemma, The Questions, The Decision.]
It is a well-known fact that all Indians in the US consider moving back to India at one point of time or the other. We discuss and debate about it, all the while putting off the final decision. The reason we do this is that most of us do not have a clear plan.
It all starts in the first few months of our first visit. During these months, if our experiences in the US are net positive, we tend to find justifications to extend our stay – better career prospects, better standard of living, more money, more fun, etc. Then, we get married and have kids in the US, so they can get citizenship (too good a deal for any Indian to resist!). “Our children will have all the opportunities that we never had.” In due course, we invest in the latest gizmos, cars and homes. “If we are going to be around, we might as well be comfortable”. Since visa processing is such a big hassle, we get ourselves green cards and eventually citizenships. “It’s really cool zipping through the short, US national immigration line while the other desis plod through the long visitor line!”
All this is mostly planned on-the-go, one year at a time. It is around this time, that many of us start thinking about returning to India. Some choose to return (like I did), some choose to settle down in the US permanently and the rest stay in what’s popularly called the n+1 mode (deferring decision by a year) till circumstances force them to decide. The n+1 folks are unfortunate since more likely than not, the ultimate decision will not be made on their terms.