Monday, August 02, 2004

Email to give your Mom in India a Hand

Here is an interesting story from Scott Baldauf in the Christian Science Monitor on the increasing nuclearization of the traditional extended Indian family, in the age of outsourcing.

So, you're an Indian living in the United States, making megabucks in Redwood City, Calif. A big shot. But your aging parents are back home in India, alone. What should you, as a good Indian son or daughter, do? Call or send an e-mail to, who will do everything from paying the family bills to just sitting down and being your mom or dad's new best friend. These days, people don't want distant relatives to get involved. So you get a professional service to do it, and that's where we come in," says P. Sunder, chief operating officer of, in Bombay (Mumbai).

Five or 10 years ago, a company like yourmaninindia might not have worked. Many Indians abroad would have still preferred to travel to India to complete jobs themselves, or relied on relatives to get odd jobs done. But now, many young expatriate Indians - often several in the same family - are moving abroad and deciding to stay there permanently, adding long-distance complications to family relationships that only work when members are physically close.

"It's a real dilemma," says Dipankar Gupta, a sociologist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. "People have to be equally committed both to the traditional commitments to family and to their individual futures in a more modern society." For Indians living abroad, "you have to have a surrogate," says Gupta. "It's almost like you've outsourced your responsibilities."

click here to read the full story.


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