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Nov 10

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Authentic Journey of Brijesh and Deepa: Life Full Circle Between India and USA

Part 2 of 3: Getting Used to Living in India Again


When deciding to move back to India, was it important simply to move back, or was the question of ‘where in India’ one that was taken very seriously?

Brijesh shares:

When you decide to go back, the place you are going back is very important. Each place is different in India. Language was not an issue for us. My wife Deepa is well versed in English, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil with that five languages we can survive in any place in India except may be North East. So language was not a problem.


Now how did we come up with Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT)? VIT was one of the 2 schools (other being Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal) in South India that has both Civil Engineering and Bio medical informatics. The idea was that if we select such a school both of us can work together. Also this place Vellore is equal distance from Hyderabad and Trivandrum (approximately 14 hours by train).


Jennifer’s notes: For those new to India- India has many, many languages, cultures, food habits, and even holidays can vary from region to region. India is akin to Europe- but it has many countries in one! Language varies widely- from state to state the languages can be completely different with a different script. The one language that can cross many borders is English- as many schools are English-medium and often government or legal issues can be done in English.



Having moved back to India and living in Vellore- what are some differences in Vellore as compared to Hyderabad and Trivandrum?

Brijesh shares:

This place Vellore is almost dead after 9 pm. We stay inside the campus and rarely have  to go out. We get everything in Vellore we get in Hyderabad or Trivandrum. Only thing that is deficient compared to Hyderabad or Trivandrum is that Vellore has only two good movie theatres.



Could you share some of your thoughts on your daughter’s experience in adjusting to Indian culture?

Brijesh shares:

We have a one year old daughter, Gayathri. She is one of the reasons we decided to leave US now so that it won’t be tough for my daughter to adjust to Indian conditions.

Deepa, would you mind sharing of your reflections on some things you experienced in adjusting back to Indian culture as a woman? What do you feel are the unique challenges or benefits being a woman in India are as compared to America?

Deepa shares:

I really miss US work culture here as I had mentioned before. There’s hardly few of my male colleagues who talk to me making an eye contact! It could be a cultural thing too and also, it maybe a biased opinion since, I was working in an industry before, at two different hospitals at Phoenix, but now I am into academics. I guess the situation may be different if I were working in an IT company.



You bring out a good point- it’s not only mindset that will adjust when moving but also our behaviors and expectations of how things work. I been following your blog and recently you posted some interesting articles on observations regarding Indian vs. American ways. Would you mind linking your articles here with a brief synopsis? I think others will be interested to read them also!
Brijesh shares:

There are so many things that are good in US and once you come back and settle here we wish to have at least few of them implemented here. It was based on that thought that I wrote the following blog post - Five things I like to see differently in India


First thing that strikes any one coming back to India from US is the amount of pollution that is happening around. I read this piece by Sean Paul Kelly and he was just penning my exact thought – Environmental Pollution in India – You Said it, Sean Paul Kelly


Whenever to you move to a new place there will be those small things you find it very difficult to adjust and my share of those small silly thing – Silly Things but Tough to Adjust


My visit to an Indian village as part of my effort to improve the drinking water distribution system there – A Tale of an Indian Village


The more I talk to the poor people from North India, I am more convinced about the amount of corruption that is happening in that part of India. Here is such a blog post born out of an interaction with a worker in train on my train journey from Hyderabad to Vellore – Over-exploitation of the Poor – Rise of Maoist Movement in India


End Part 2 of 3. Thank you for sharing, Deepa and Brijesh.
Part 1: Lessons on Maintaining Identity Away From One’s Native Culture and Country
Part 2: Process of Moving Back and Re-Integration into ‘A More Familiar Place’
Part 3:College Culture in India

The previous interview in this series: 
The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie (Part 1 of 3) - Two People Living Their Best Life Possible Above and Beyond Culture and Appearances 
The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie: The Languages of Love (Part 2 of 3) 
The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie: Yes, UK and USA are Different Countries! (Part 3 of 3)

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synopsis: Making a decision to move home after years away can be tricky whether we live a few towns away or a few continents away. What are some factors that can be weighed in the decision making process? How far ahead of time are such decisions thought of and planned out for? What are some of the adjustment factors that seriously considered? Are these decisions different based on the location of the move? Click in to read some experiences of Brijesh and Deepa in their planning to return to India after being NRIs abroad. font>


Copyright ©2010 Jennifer Kumar, CC, MSW Cultural Adjustment Coach


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