Brain gain, being brown

A Malayali Southasian’s thoughts on going away and returning home.

Flying east-bound 9000 metres above Germany, I was flipping through a newspaper in the cramped cabin of a transcontinental airliner. There, I found an article on the new trend of 'brain gain', linked to India's Westernised émigrés return home. I was interested: I was on my way to New Delhi to take up studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, having spent the past 18 years, since my childhood, in the United States.

Not so long ago, I had been to my birthplace in Kerala, and the first thing I noticed upon arrival in Delhi was that north India smelled a lot different than south India. I confirmed this sensation soon after, when I travelled to Madras. There, I experienced a slew of Tamil aromas that were close cousins of those smells with which I grew up in Kerala, but were quite different from those in New Delhi.

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Himal Southasian