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A file photo of people at the US embassy in New Delhi. Photo: Manish Swarup/AP
A file photo of people at the US embassy in New Delhi. Photo: Manish Swarup/AP

Exit stage right

There is one major hurdle that young non-residency-prone professionals must overcome before they fly abroad: deal with tremendous social guilt

Once again, after many decades, the stars of our nation’s destiny have aligned themselves into a new arrow-like shape that points towards the visa application line outside the nearest consulate of a foreign country. The evidence is hard to miss.

First of all, there is that economy. Latest analyst predictions indicate that India’s growth rate might slow to as little as 4.6%. And this is even before the government has issued corrections — “Due to clerical error last month’s manufacturing output figures counted Maharashtra twice and completely left out all states with names starting with A. The revised figure for manufacturing output is as follows: 167.53 plus free shipping if you order in the next 24 hours."

Secondly, there is the problem of corruption. Gone are the days when regular citizens could get things done by providing low-level functionaries with tea-water. Thanks to liberalization, regular citizens have been completely priced out of the corruption market. Postmen are coming home and saying things like: “Namaskaram Mrs. Vadukut! Your money order has come. But first you make me also happy with one coal block, Games Village flat or emu farm please?"

Thirdly, there are worrying indications that the government wants to tax more aggressively. As it is, very few people pay tax. The latest estimate is that there are 35 million income-tax payers in this country. More people are expected to attend the Kumbh Mela next year. (True story.) Which means the government is going to tighten the screw on law-abiding citizens like you even more. And frankly speaking, you’re getting tired of faking medical bills. How many times will you replace hips willy-nilly in the family?

And then there is the state of our political affairs.

Q: What is the difference between Parliament and my uncle’s rusted old Bajaj Chetak scooter?

A: Both don’t function. But the scooter is better at implementing reforms.

Young, dynamic people all over the country are well aware of this dire situation. They wake up in the morning, read the papers, and think to themselves: “Good God! It is high time people like me stepped forward to intervene, before it is too late to restore the nation to its rightful glory."

After which they think to themselves: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That was some pure comedy gold. I will now go and fill my Canadian visa application."

However, there is one major hurdle that young non-residency-prone professionals must overcome before they fly abroad: deal with tremendous social guilt.

In the past, going abroad for work was seen as a good thing to do. Talented people left, made some money and then sent most of it back home where responsible parents and elders invested the money in enterprises such as Catholic Syrian Bank or Amway.

But today the situation is seen differently.

Each year, when business school placements are announced there are outraged articles about how many of these little blackguards are betraying the nation and moving abroad. How their education was a waste of tax payers’ money (see section on tax payers above). And how they should instead stay back and help to develop the nation (see section on Chetak scooter above).

So, how does a young, dynamic person like you deal with all this social guilt-tripping? Here are some methods:

First of all, you must loudly and frequently announce your intention to move back to India at the earliest opportunity. Say things like: “I don’t even want to go yaar. But these guys have a policy of training everybody in New York. The very day training is complete I am flying back on the next Kingfisher flight."

Secondly, you must constantly say how you are upset at leaving the “most exciting market" in the world. Use terms like the “this is where the action is", “the next big story is India" and “the untapped opportunity is immense". Keep saying this till you are well inside the aircraft. And then start right away on your Singaporean accent la!

The next canard is to tell people that you are only going abroad to make enough money to come back and set up your own enterprise. For added brownie points, make it one of those “social entrepreneurship" thingumajigs. But make it sound complicated enough to warrant your going abroad. Try things like “sustainable grassroots biodiversity microfinance for the girl child".

Also effective is to tell people that you are going abroad with the medium-term plan of “doing higher studies" and then coming back to teach, say, at your alma mater. “We must go to Harvard, learn their methods, come back, and then beat them at their own game!" you must say, preferably whilst waving a large flag.

And finally, if nothing else works, tell people that you’re going abroad because your parents are forcing you to. Actually, you can’t even imagine spending one night outside our international borders. But the parents insist. And their happiness is more important to you than anything else. Later, move your parents abroad with you. Then tell people that they’re too old to move back, but now they never want to live alone again.

Alas. Green card.

Cubiclenama takes a weekly look at pleasures and perils of corporate life. Your comments are welcome at cubiclenama@livemint.com

To read Sidin Vadukut’s previous columns, go to www.livemint.com/cubiclenama

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