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Both my girls chose to study abroad and went to the US for higher studies. Are my girls happy? I think so. Am I happy? Yes & No!
If my girls are happy, then I should be happy. Which is what the ‘Yes’ is for but the ‘No’ is also for the reality of this situation. You may argue that as kids grow older and become adults, it doesn’t matter where they live. They will have a life of their own and parents have to slowly move away from their daily lives anyway.
While this is a universal truth, there is surely something else about moving to a foreign land. In the process of adapting to their host country, their home country becomes distant for them. It may be an organic, unavoidable thing but it is true.
When the dean’s letter comes through the post announcing that your child’s name has been included in the prestigious merit list. Or when your child forwards you raving feedback from the professor on an essay that she wrote, you swell up with pride.
But the very next day, when over the phone she tells you that she won’t be coming home over the winter break, as she is planning to go on a road trip with some friends. You cannot help feel a little disappointed. Logic and justification may follow and your mind may be rested but your heart is left a little sore.
Then you wait for the summer break only to find out that she has an internship lined up because of which she can’t make it home. There is of course no arguing when it comes to career matters.
After the long wait, when they do come home for a break, we drop everything to make space for them. A lot of pampering ensues- ‘Beta kya khana hai, kahan jana hai?’ (what do you want to eat, where do you want to go?).
A whole lot of TLC. Long intimate conversations followed by even longer head massages. Whatever little time is left is filled up by friends. There is no room for a normal life during this time, neither for the child nor for the parent. It’s a vacation and like all vacations, it comes to an end too soon. We bond with them but there is no time for them to bond with the rest of the family.
Before you realise, they are in their senior year and things start getting more serious than you would like it to be. They start applying for jobs and even start getting offers. On the outside, you may brag about the great job offers your child gets but, on the inside, you wish those offers were from someplace in India.
Yes, it is true that many a times the rich educational experience that they get there translates into a success story. The kids adapt to that culture very well and are able to realise their full potential. It transforms them in a very positive way and that is certainly something to be happy about for everyone.
While I have been lucky in this respect, one must bear in mind that all stories around foreign departures to study abroad do not translate into success stories. There are just as many (if not more) sad stories lurking around.
While it would be invasive to share those stories here, the emotional trade-off is a universal thing and may not be acceptable to some. I think it is perfectly fine as it is all about priorities at the end of the day.
The decision to send or not send your child to study abroad should be a well-thought out one and most importantly, it should be your own.
I recently read these beautifully penned words in a different context but they fit in beautifully here.
Dream and dream high
But check your own parachutes
Before you take off for the sky.
Image source: Shakuntala Devi
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Women making compromises for the sake of their families is real; I have seen, heard and read about them. My family has been my biggest cheerleaders!
‘I suppose you will work after marriage?’ My (then) prospective mother-in-law asked a few minutes after we had met.
I was in the penultimate semester of my two-year MBA at IIM Indore. Amid lectures, libraries, badminton, extracurriculars, and placements, I somehow managed to discover my future life partner there. His parents had arrived in Indore from Lucknow to meet his choice and deliberate about blessing the marriage.
‘Yes, of course,’ I replied without blinking, trying to gauge her reaction.
I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
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