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My Brain Drains in Mumbai !

25 September, 2012Posted By: Durlov Baruah

There is a question that is troubling me for some months now. What made me decide to build my career outside my home - Assam?

This is an important question. If some of us believe that Assam can be a happy prosperous place by becoming sovereign or otherwise, it would not be possible if we decide to leave Assam in hordes at the slightest possible assumption of trouble or opportunity?

15 years back, I don't even remember if I even gave a thought to the option of staying in Assam. My parents always wanted me to explore. It was obviously certain to me at that time that I was not doing my Masters in Assam. It was obvious that grass is greener in Delhi (or Mumbai).

Today, I don't seem to understand why was it so obvious that it was easier to build a career in a city which I had never seen and known? Was it the influence of media that we read, saw and heard? Was it the greed for a good life as portrayed by the media? Was it just cooler to look part of the happening cities?  Or was it just hopelessness that nothing can happen in Assam?

Today after spending 12 years in Mumbai, I am not sure if it was easier in Mumbai or if I am better today? Yes I am richer than my parents hoped.

On the flip-side, I am 37. I am divorced. I have no kids. My parents are alone in Assam. I am in a place which I can't call my own. I can't relate to mischal-pao, coconut gravy, and bada-pav. I don't have neighbours, khura-khuri, borma-jethai.  I don't understand the local language and culture to relate to Ganapati, Navratri etc. Husori nedekha bohu bosor hol (Its been years that I celebrated Bihu).

Also, I see that many of my friends, brothers and sisters in Mumbai are not as lucky. They are struggling hard to survive the city, with the hope that things will be better some day. There are 'strugglers' in the television and film industry. There are security gaurds, waiters, salesman...and the list goes on... with just hope.

Is it that hope that brings us out of Assam? Is there no hope that rupohi axom (beautiful Assam), as Dr. Bhupen Hazarika had said, will ever be a reality? Or is it that we don't have the vision to build Assam, as we work hard to build our individual careers? It is evident that if we just work hard individually building our own careers in Assam, Rupohi Axom will be built.

That didn't struck me when I was growing up. We all get suck up to the lure of migration, which is nothing but brain-drain. I didn't think that I have to earn 5 times more in Mumbai (or Delhi) to live the same life, as I was living in Assam. I didn't understand the pain of living away from your school friends, family and parents, of our kids learning Hindi more prominently than Assamese, of missing the smell of the wet earth of Assam.

I would like to say in BOLD that its not TRUE that staying back in Assam is a regressive thought. And making a career in Mumbai (or any metro) is any easier.

It is time that we bring talent, knowledge and resources back to our home states. Internet and Mobile is bringing the world closer, and enabling opportunities for everyone. Businesses have become easier to operate.

Assam is rich in many natural resources and has a relatively healthy literacy rate of 73.18% as per the 2011 census. The wage cost of labour is also lower. It has a few infrastructural bottle-necks such as road and electricity, but that would improve once citizens of the state become productive economically.

With FDI in multi-brand retail, Assam can garner investments to have cold storage facilities, giving a boost to organic farming and the food processing industry. Likewise, there are opportunities that can be tapped in various out-sourcing models of business (BPO, KPOs, MPOs etc). Technology related outsourcing (software development, search marketing etc) can also be taken by the youth of the state, to bring in finances into the state.

It is a high time that all of us staying and working outside Assam should help in this cause and drain our brains a bit to start the economic engine of the state of Assam. Migration of labour into the other states has to stop, and like the earlier days, every Assamese village, cities and towns should become self sufficient, flourishing and happy.

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