Now, at a sprightly four, we at NRI of the year awards can safely claim to have a legacy – one of honouring legends
These living legends are the ones who have made their mark on foreign shores, sheared of the cocoon of one’s motherland. These pioneers and trailblazers of the contemporary world are heroes who overcame hurdles, inspired and awed legends native of the land they now cohabit. Every Indian’s heart swells with pride at the mention of Indra Nooyi, Satya Nadella or Sundar Pichai.
Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg! For, chugging away at their wheels, droning in on their trolleys, typing away at their keyboards and sweating it out at their woks, are countless scientists, doctors, businessmen, students, artists, academicians of Indian origin, residing as overseas Indians, persons of Indian origin (PIOs), Indian expats or NRIs who remain so submerged in silently striding on that for the rest of the world, they are by and large anonymous. Despite the fact that they are rendering yeomen service in their chosen professions, and inspiring awe and confidence among their ilk, they choose to abide by the dictum ‘simple living and high thinking’ rather than tom-tom about their inspirational back stories and never-before adventures. Though they straddle their downtown residences, their Ferraris and their Guccis with panache and élan, though they light their bonfires on Christmas and don their Halloween masks to belong to the clan they are now part of, they are simultaneously organising cultural carnivals, liaising with forex and international couriers and fanatically holding on to their Indian-ness and upping the ante in that sphere too.
The NRI of the year awards is conceptualised as a platform to recognise and accolade these silent heroes who make us proud and inspire millions back home to further hone their skills and chase their dreams.
Starting this year, we shall weave a theme across the awards to connect the dots and spin the amazing yarns. The introductory theme is ‘Contemporary Crusoes’ for we believe that like the legendary Robinson Crusoe, each one of you is a Crusoe at heart – pious of heart, never-say-die-attitude, entrepreneurial and a class act. For the uninitiated, the English novelist Daniel Defoe’s seminal novel, Robinson Crusoe, one of the earliest English novels, is the inspiring story of how the protagonist Robinson Crusoe is shipwrecked on a marooned island with just the Bible. Despite the fact that there’s slim hope and no fear of social ostracism, Crusoe starts building a life from scratch, building a house rather than stay put in a cave, planting his crops rather than relying on game or wild fruits in the island of plenty and in the process also humanising the savage Man Friday. All the while, he leads a life of piety, devoutly reading the Holy Bible. The book is said to be the finest treatise of economic man, how man through his grit and determination can eke out a living despite supposedly insurmountable odds.
Though we are aware that yours was not a shipwreck but a carefully calculated move, we nonetheless want to salute your spirit of stewardship, your entrepreneurial instincts, your ability to manage the Rubik’s cube of life on foreign soil and outsmarting a few Man Fridays along the way. Here’s to all you movers and shakers, the motivational tribe of contemporary Crusoes.