NRIs and the Distance

NRIs: Living abroad and the long distance relations with families/friends

The long distance relations, the long distance friendships, the relatives far away and the families scattered around the globe – welcome to the NRIs club! It is part of living abroad. ‘The distance’ is a part of the journey for most of the NRIs. The distance may be one of the variables depending on where and how far you live; but actually, it is a constant – it is always there. When it comes to the overseas’ life, the distance is what identifies the lifestyle of majority of the NRIs.

Most of the Indians living abroad have what you may call ‘an international family’. The parents may live in one country, the kids in another place, and some of the siblings yet somewhere else. Most of us travel to the faraway places for opportunities – the financial opportunities, the chances for career growth, better jobs and so on…. We explore all around the globe looking for something better – better schools, better jobs, the better places to raise kids….

Along the way, while searching for a better life, come the compromises and the sacrifices. One of the obvious results of all these relocations is the distance.

At the heart of all this running around, at the bottom of all this hunting all over the globe is the search for a better life. The whole thing – the living abroad – revolves around the idea of finding a better life. But, is it?

Is it really a better life though – a better quality of life? Perhaps yes, perhaps no; the answer depends on you, how you define living or a life. It depends what is more important to you in your life. I don’t think you can compare the compromises and sacrifices against the opportunities and the financial gains; these are apples and oranges – hard to compare.

Most of the NRIs, even though they talk about returning home, never go back to India permanently. So, most of us must be more satisfied with the life abroad. We complain about it – the life abroad and the compromises, and yet prefer to stay put.

Over the years, over the generations, the reason to stay abroad may change – from personal preference to the family’s choice. Over the years, we may end up having a bigger and better social life in our adopted country, so it may not make much sense to go back anymore. Whatever the case may be, whatever the reasoning  could be, we get used to the new place. or perhaps, as in many cases, we get used to the distance.

The distance is a part of NRI lifestyle, and we have found ways to deal with it. The internet, computers and other modern technologies have made the distance look ‘less distant’. People can video chat, talk more often at lower phone rates, or even fly around the globe more easily now-a-days.

While some of us depend on the internet, emails and phones, others get used to living far away. And, yet others have their own ways of justification. However, by end of the day, the distance is there, you are still far away. It is not the same in spite of all the new technology and the internet age.

They say ‘time is a great healer’; over the years, we end up adapting to the new life and the new place. We get used to the new society, the new culture. We don’t forget the old friends and family back home; the past and the life that we leave behind is still there; it is still a part of us. However, we get used to the new way of living. We get used to the distance. And if not, just like with everything else over time, we come to learn how to deal with it – the distance.

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7 Replies to “NRIs and the Distance”

  1. This is a very interesting topic. Thanks for continuing it. I think this kind of mentality and sentiment can apply outside NRI communities to many general immigrant/expat communities. When you mention that technology reduces distance, in this modern era we are lucky for that. What was it like for the generations before that came actually maybe not that long ago like in 70s,80s, etc when this was not there? Also, it reminds me of an intriging book I read on an Italian immigrant… this person came here ‘for a better life’ knowing he’d never see or talk to his family again because this was in the early 1900s when travel and communication was very limited. If you’re interested, see this book-
    I have read it a few times. It’s really inspiring.

  2. Thanks Jenn, for sharing your thoughts. Even though the phones were there for NRIs, there were no phones in every home in India even until middle 90s, and the calling international was very expensive. Anbd the internet is becoming popular in Indian households (in India) only recently. So yes, it is much differenr now a days.
    Thanks for sharing the link to the book, you always have something nice to share, so THANK YOU.

  3. I am happy you bring out these topics! Bloggers out there talk and share (I am included and guilty) but it takes a creative eye to really bring these kinds of issues out. These issues seem so matter-of-fact, everyday and common sense. They are discussed in every desi household, I am sure, and almost all desi (and immigrant/expat) parties/get-togethers. It seems to be so ordinary or everyday that many forget how many outside the circle just have no clue what is the situation. That’s why I like your approach. You have made me think a lot. Thanks.

  4. Hello people,
    I am journalist at Folha de S.Paulo, biggest Brazilian newspaper, and we are going to publish an article about the indian economic boom this weekend. To ilustrate my report, I am looking for families or single persons that used to live abroad and are back to India due the new opportunities at home country. I dont know if it is the case of your family, but I really want to hear about your personal experience and reproduce in my report. Toni Sciarretta my email is

  5. What’s up,I log on to your blogs named “NRIs and the Distance – The Indians Abroad” daily.Your humoristic style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing! And you can look our website about proxy server list.

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