1. Narendra Modi
Whether he occupies the top spot for a single term or, as the BJP’s exit polls suggest, until the wheel of time stops turning, India’s charismatic new PM is bent on wooing the ex-pat Indian community. Fresh from his success at Madison Square Gardens in New York where 20,000 Indian-Americans showed up to cheer him on, the NaMo roadshow is set to replace Bollywood’s song-and-dance extravaganzas as the biggest entertainment draw for NRIs everywhere.
2. Wanted: Leg Spinner…and batsmen, wicketkeeper, medium pacers.
With more countries like the US and UAE becoming associate members of the ICC, cricket is a fast growing craze around the world. But how do the so-called ‘minnows’ of the cricketing world compete against bigger fish like Australia and South Africa? By recruiting PIOs, that’s how! Expect to see more persons of Indian origin (like Englishman Ravi Bopara) playing in their national sides because, even without exposure to galli cricket, the game is in our blood.
3. Food Fads
Plain vanilla vegetarianism is no longer a trend abroad – it’s the norm. And other dietary fads are catching on. Best of luck trying to feed butter chicken and ras malai to your all-organic, gluten-free, vegan relatives who are visiting from California.
4. Mixed Marriages
First-generation Indian immigrants were notoriously strict about their children marrying outside the community. Now that those children’s children, born and brought up without any pressure to stick to their roots, are coming of age, expect to see many more Kajal Seth-Smiths and Gauri Rao-Chans in your local phonebook.
5. Fewer engineers and dentists, hooray!
Again, since third-generation NRIs face almost nil pressure to pursue traditional, financially-stable careers, more of them will choose to become artists, entertainers and writers. More competition for Kamaljit Singh Jhooti (a.k.a the rapper Jay Sean) and Canadian comedian Russell Peters, but who’s complaining? No one.
6. I’d like to thank the academy…
Claiming the Best Actor Oscar won by Sir Ben Kingsley (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji to a British mother and a Kenyan father of Gujarati descent) as an Indian success story might be a bit of a stretch. But director Mira Nair and the late producer Ismail Merchant were both born in India before migrating abroad and their films have together been nominated four times at the Academy Awards. With growing exposure, we’re sure to see more of those golden statuettes in the hands of Indians everywhere.
7. Big business…and bigger scandals.
The insider trading scandals that led to the downfall of Rajat Gupta (former MD of McKinsey) and Raj Rajaratnam (former founder of The Galleon Group), far from being negative, highlight the rising and previously unimaginable position of Indians in global big business. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will have heard of Indra Nooyi, head of PepsiCo and one of the most powerful people in the world as ranked by Forbes. She is not the first CEO of Indian origin, nor will she be the last.
8. Walking the halls of power!
President Barrack Obama has appointed 30 Indians to prominent positions in his administration, including the first-ever US ambassador to India. Perhaps reflecting the growing significance of the expat Indian community, local governments all over the world will soon be stocking their cabinets right and left with desi politicos.
9. Welcome home!
After the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) program launched in 2005 failed for many reasons, the Modi government has promised Indians all over the world that traveling to India will become easier than ever with lifetime visas and visa-on-arrival. More frequent visits to India for OCIs, more duty-free goodies for us!
10. Goodbye China, hello Chandni Chowk!
And for those just waiting for a good excuse to return to their roots, look no further than India’s annually rising GDP of 5%. While most of the rest of the world’s economies grind to a standstill, India’s Sensex is experiencing a comparative boom. The next decade will witness a reverse brain-drain, as India lures its best and brightest back with a buffet of business and investment opportunities.
11. Who am I?
Increasing paranoia about ‘foreigners’ in the wake of global terrorism will lead to a renewed identity crisis for Indians abroad as they are viewed with suspicion by their adopted country. But hey, look at the bright side…if you ever need it, you’ll always have a home here!
12. Meanwhile, in other news…
India is still the flavor of the season everywhere in the world but the news stories beaming out now are more to do with its widespread corruption, and vile sexual abuse of women, rather than modernity and economic success. While the negative spotlight will cause you to cringe with shame, it may well be the first step to a better India – an India that all of us, wherever we may live, can be proud of.