Wednesday, April 05, 2006

reverse brain drain and India-U.S. mash-ups

India have always talked about brain drain -- the phenomena of India's top talents, educated in India usually by schools where tuition is heavily, heavily subsidized by the government, leaving India for the West. Hell my Dad was part of the so-called brain drain -- he topped in his States (Madhyapradesh), went on to study at one of India's top technical universities, paid very little for it (something like 50 rs / month! About $10 USD / month at the exchange rate back then), and then ended up here in the States. We moved back to India when I was in high school and my Dad maintains a lot of activity in India, but I digress...

Now the reverse appears to be happening -- Indians that came to the States from India are moving back to India to pursue professional opportunities there (Gaurav and Ashish at Tekriti are prime examples of this -- IIT educated engineers working for Microsoft in the States moving back to Delhi to start a software company in Gurgaon). And, as CNN writes in this article, Americans are going to India (and not Americans like me with Indian ancestry) to pursue opportunities there.

On my recent trip to India, I felt at times that I was inside some sort of strange mash-up, whether it was while I was at BarCamp Delhi and heard engineers talking about Chris Pirillo's Gada.be, whether it was at my uncle's house in North Delhi (the older, more conservative part of Delhi) giving a demo of Beyond TV to my cousins while they asked me very astute and challenging questions. I expect to see this mash-up trend continue and it's something that I'm excited about.

And as a sort of aside, my favorite mash-up story is one that I recently heard from my friend and co-worker, Soham. Soham has an American friend of Indian descent who recently took a sabbatical from her job at Andersen Consulting in the Bay Area to move to Bombay to try and make it in Bollywood. She's a talented dancer and since she's been over there, she's made it into a few TV commercials and as a dancer in several Bollywood movies. Great, but to make things even more interesting, she scored a gig as a dancer in this Bollywood extravaganza as a dancer so now she's touring the States as a dancer in an Indian production!

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