Brain gain: 'We could afford a good, luxurious life compared to here'

Hetal and Sumit Srivastava could afford to lead a luxurious lifestyle if they returned to Bombay. The married couple, who earn a joint annual salary of £60,000 in London, were undecided about whether they wanted to remain permanently when they arrived in 2001 but now feel a pull back towards their Indian homeland.

They arrived in Britain after Mr Srivastava, 27, was offered an opportunity in the London arm of stockbrokers, Kotak Mahindra Limited, where he works as a chartered accountant.

Although they qualify for permanent residency this year, neither are sure they want to remain in Britain.

Mrs Srivastava, 27, a marketing graduate who works at Media Moguls, an ethnic public relations agency, believes her job brings her closer to her cultural heritage.

"We thought we would come here for a better life and better opportunities but I am not sure we would plan to stay here forever. The kind of salary we could be on in India would allow us to have a higher standard of living compared to here. We could lead a good, luxurious lifestyle and we would not be doing everything on our own as we are here, without an established circle of family and friends."

"Until I came here, I had taken the culture for granted but I feel closer to it now. I also feel that I want to be able to give something back to India," she remarked.

They live in rented accommodation without a car and are saving money, for a better life back home.

"We could afford to buy a big house, have servants and a car as well as saving money. I wouldn't mind having children in this country but I just think it is so much more expensive here. We would probably need child care in India when we have children but it would be so much cheaper. I also think educational standards for school children are higher in India," she said.

She was surprised by the lack of freedom that Indian youngsters had in England. "India seems more progressive than some Indian communities here, who are still living the kind of life they led 50 years ago when they left. There is less freedom for young people compared with life in India. I would be able to go out with friends whether they were girls or boys. There was no problem. Here there are many more rules."

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