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True story

Breaking the popular trend and returning to Nepal
By Sulav Bhatta

Ever since I came back from the US eight months ago, the most common
question I have faced is regarding my "naive" decision to return. In
my opinion, this is a wrong question to be asked. They should be
asking why people do not return after completing their studies. To
satisfy people's curiosity I tell them that this is my country and I
have come back because I feel that I can do something here with my
engineering degree. But people seem less convinced with my answer.
They give me a strange, funny look.
The US, undoubtedly, is one of the most developed countries in the
world. It is full of opportunities and it treats hardworking people
very well. However, it is not Nepal, the country of our birth, where
we enjoy an intricate feeling of belongingness. I have no hard
feelings against the US; it treated me very well during my six years
there. . I think all Nepalese should go to the US at least once in
life to learn about freedom, hard work, fairness, positive attitude,
accountability, sense of responsibility etc. After experiencing US
life, I wanted to come to Nepal and give it a shot. I adjusted my
expectation level accordingly because it would be ridiculous to expect
things here to be the way they are in the west.
However, after spending about eight months is Nepal, I have some idea
about why I was "mocked". Currently I am doing my MBA as well. When I
went to join the MBA programme, the college was locked due to some
problem at Pokhara University. Our student coordinator who took my
interview asked me why I came back. This was a strange question
because she herself studied in the US and then returned to Nepal. I
could not help but think that people are very frustrated with the
current situation here. Regular class interruption due to Nepal bandh
etc. is a part of life and something I am used to by now. Some of my
MBA colleagues are in the process of applying for the US. If they get
the visa, they would have no qualms about leaving the MBA program
here.
What has really motivated me to write this article is the recent turn
of events. There was vacancy for engineers at Nepal Telecom, and
naturally I thought of applying. Since I have a certificate from the
US, I was asked to present a TU equivalent for my US degree. I went to
TU and filled up the necessary paperwork. Then they asked me to take
my documents to Pulchowk Engineering College (PEC). They needed
recommendations from PEC before they can form a committee and decide.
Fair enough. Now, I go to Pulchowk only to discover that the Dean's
Office has been locked down since the past two months due to the
strike of the students. I asked the guy there if there was anything at
all that could be done so that my credentials could be evaluated. He
told me there was little, if any, chance for that. Then he asked me
where I did my engineering. I told him and his eyes lightened up. Then
he asked me the same question that I was already expecting— why did
I return?!
I came back home tired and frustrated. My parents were eagerly
waiting to know if my problem got solved. I told them what happened
and what the guy had said. I tried not to show my frustration.  My
parents, who were once overjoyed when I came back from the US, are
having second thoughts now. They are wondering whether they should
have ordered their only son to come back. This is a very ironic
situation. However, I still stand by my decision to come back. I just
hope that somehow I never have to regret my decision.
My problem is just a tip of the iceberg that the people here are
facing. I find that our system is so broken up that it needs immediate
and thorough change. If something is not done soon enough, we might
alienate our young and productive generation so much that the only
people remaining in Nepal would be the retired and old people. If we
take the case of India, a lot of young people are returning from the
US because they can now get same opportunity in India itself. This is
helping India a lot. We all know how India has developed over the past
few years. We should also try to attract our young, talented people
back to Nepal. And I know that there are a lot of people out there who
would love to come back if there is stability and opportunity here. I
would like to request everyone to do whatever they can in their
capacity so that people do not have to run away from Nepal.
Trust me, you can make a difference!