Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why we came to India

So far, I seem to be focusing on the challenges of life here, so I thought it might be worth it to include an excerpt of a letter I wrote at the end of 2007 explaining some of our thinking to come to India:

"We have been struggling with the decision of whether to move to the Netherlands or not (where he received a job offer), which has led to the current plan to go to live in India for a few years (starting with two) , leaving by the end of 2008.

Now, Holland and India are at two ends of the spectrum economically, socially, culturally, weather wise, and in so many other ways -- although they both hold the cow as sacred -- and I’ve spent a lot of time and energy thinking about this. (If you are interested, I can send you the spreadsheet I developed to help guide my thinking,) I think India makes more sense for us given our family ties, the dynamism of the economy, the chance to learn language(s) that more than 25 million people speak, and the energy of the place compared to the more staid but clearly healthier and cleaner Holland. Europe certainly has a certain allure – being close to lots of interesting places and old friends, great fruits and vegetables and meat, clean air and water, being half way between both sets of parents, watching the EU process from inside, and earning in Euros. But something just didn’t seem to feel right to me about going to the Netherlands. I think that our marketability after a few years in India would be higher than a few years in Holland too. So the current plan is to go to Bangalore, where both Sub and I will work for a new think tank called CSTEP (Centre for Science, Technology and Policy). Sub will likely continue to do some work with TU-Delft, and hopefully I will find a way to continue to do some work with Georgetown. Then in a couple of years we can come back to the US with new perspectives and skills, and think about where we want to live and what we want to do."

I still think the reasoning holds, even if being amidst all this change (while some things continue to move so slowly) is dizzying.


gb said...

although the planet spins always in the same direction you and a still too small community of people living on it surf a new balance between west and east. 0-latitude is still searching how to defend its weakening cultural and economic stronghold and it is not at all open to understanding middle, south, normal, far east. Olympic games have been an example: nobody reporting from China knew one bit of its history or had even the faintest idea of what its cultural scenario could be. Although humans are interesting even in Delft, I think India has a lot more to keep you busy.

Robin King said...

Finding a way to combine and balance east and west will be one of the big challenges of this century I think. For everyone, even if they don't realize it.