When an NRI returns to his home soil and narrates success stories and has invested in properties in his motherland or has shown signs of having amassed wealth in the foreign country that he is currently employed, listeners are often sceptical about his real profession and his riches. During weddings, christenings, birthday parties etc, many a time I have heard relatives, friends and close family crack jokes about NRIs who are visiting family; jokes about him being a toilet cleaner in America or Australia or taxi driver in Dubai etc., without any evidence. These jokes hail from listeners’ jealousy who find it difficult to believe that their narrators who were leading impoverished lives a few months ago are now the proud owners of posh bungalows. Or it could be that in the past they had accidentally stumbled upon the truth about few NRIs, who though had claimed to be executives or managers in the corporate world, were in reality labourers. Or would have been informed by kith and kin who were their co-workers in foreign lands.
Even though people joke about such NRIs, they should never fail to overlook the honourable intentions behind their lies. They only concoct stories to protect the reputation of their family members and work hard as labourers only to provide a rich and prosperous life to their near and dear ones. When US or American dollars or Dubai dirhams are converted into Indian rupees the difference is what accounts for their prosperity. We all know that. But with increasing number of post graduates migrating to foreign countries under the general skilled category, the success stories of NRIs are not always fabrications and they usually contribute to the foreign lands in productive ways besides enjoying better standards of living. However, the popularity of stories of people, who had lied about their professions and whose deceptive tales were later on exposed to the public, often hinder friends and family from acknowledging true success stories. Successful NRIs are not clueless about the suspicions and jealousy entertained by the residents of India and are clever enough to paint a low profile picture of themselves, which indirectly keeps the poor relations at bay as they have great expectations from people who are settled abroad.
I am pretty sure when I informed friends and family that I am employed as a full time permanent teacher in a New South Wales Department of Education Secondary school, it would have been treated with scepticism by few if not all. If you are not a frequent flyer to your country of origin to attend important family occasions, few interesting surmises or theories regarding your absence are bound to arise. There is also the belief that once income may not be sufficient enough to undertake journeys every now and then. Even if a person has a good income, the lifestyle of the place sometimes takes its toll on his/her income. If I am earning $5110.90 per month, a person who learns about my income would immediately make mental currency conversion to Indian rupees and if the outcome is staggering then the judgement is that so and so is doing well. Using these parameters, my income in Indian currency would be Rs. 2,61,519.56 per month to the worldly person but to a sceptical person I could be working as a cleaner and could have been spinning yarns about being a teacher abroad.
Strange are the ways of the world. By uploading this fortnightly payslip (government employees receive fortnightly pay), I may have assuaged the fears of most but may also have unconsciously and unintentionally stirred a hornet’s nest. Only time will tell.