Thursday, December 24, 2009

The jouney begins - Part II

The planning can be clubbed in three broad groups -

  1. Legal and Financial

  2. Possessions

  3. Relations

For Legal and Financial, the main thing was the immigration aspect. For us, it was securing some long-term Indian visa. For some of my friends who went back, the main issue was to keeping the Green Card alive. Paramita and kids had PIO. I had a 6-month Indian multiple-entry visa that I obtained in haste in August. First thing was to apply for my OCI. Kudos to San Francisco Consulate, the process was very clean and streamlined. It took just 3 weeks to get the OCI in hand. Foolishly I didn't keep a copy of the application number. Otherwise, I could have kept track of the process in detail over internet. I did that when I applied OCI for Paramita and the kids. It also took 3 weeks. For them it was a change from PIO to OCI.

A few people has asked about the practical difference between PIO and OCI. It seems the biggest practical difference is in case of OCI one doesn't need to go and register as Foreign National every six months with the Indian Government (through outposts in most major cities).

The only complaint that I have against the OCI application process is that websites of different consulates as well as the website of the ministry have conflicting information. Some are up-to-date, but a lot are dated. Depending on which website you hit, your application process may be erroneous. Like in our case, the right amount of fee for changing PIO to OCI was misinformed. That took away some precious time and money.

After the visa, it was time make sure we get paid in India and pay taxes. It was time for a PAN card. Permanent Account Number or PAN in India is equivalent to a Tax Identification Number or TIN in US.

The PAN application process is also quite streamlined, it seems. But for people residing outside India, like us, the main inconvenience is the to obtain the attestation for the address-proof. Regular notarization doesn't work. One needs to go to the nearest Indian Consulate to get this attested. It may not be too much of a hassle if one has ample time in hand. But for our case, it was definitely a big inconvenience.

I found a service on the net, They actually run a few more websites with different domains essentially providing the same service through the parent company The extra service they provide is to get your address proof attested. The rest is basically creating a Demand Draf on your behalf, submit the form and mail you back the acknowledgment etc. The price seems to be steep for the work done, but basically you pay for the convenience. I availed their service and received my PAN card in mail within the promised time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The jouney begins

It all started on a March or April morning when I received a call from India. Will I be interested in applying for a position in MyCompany Bangalore? Of course, the name of the company is not MyCompany. But, that's besides the point here.

In last 4-5 years me and Paramita have explored the idea of going back to India in a semi-serious mode. That generally involved talking to people vising US from India, especially my Brother-In-Law, who comes at least once a year in summer.  That would be followed by some more phone calls to friends in India who had made the r2i journey at different times in past.

My position was that if I return, there is no point returning to any city other that Kolkata. But as time went by, I came down from that position since with the kind of career profiles we have, it's difficult to get the right kind of opportunity in Kolkata. There are a very few product companies in Kolkata. We both have spent most our working lives in product componies. If not Kolkata, Bangalore was the natural next choice.

When the call came I agreed to explore it with an open mind.

It was a long process. There were 4-5 telephone conversation (interview) over telephone. Then there was one in-person interview at MyCompany's local office. It was August by the time the in-person interview happened. My father suddenly passed away in August. I rushed back to India.

I came back with a  changed perspective. I was no more on an exploratory path. I was convinced that we should make the move. Now. MyCompany or not. My kids are 5 and 2. This is high time to make the move, if at all, for them too.

After I returned from India, me and Paramita had some deep discussions and decided we will try to make the move now. I won't say that Paramita was totally convinced, especially when approaching the issue from an emotional angle,  but she agreed to give it a serious try.

In early September, I started negotiating on the offer with MyCompany. Paramita started preparing her resume. We started thinking about the logistics. From that point onwards it became a hectic affair. I just joined a new company. Paramita had her fully-loaded job. Megh's school session had already started. We had to keep up our regular life and added this planning and execution, mostly planning at that stage, of R2I.