Blog, stories and articles on personal issues and challenges faced by South Asians and Non Resident Indians (NRIs)

NRI couples cope with troubled knots


There are close to two million Keralites working abroad, mostly in the Gulf, sending back as much as Rs 20,000 crore annually.

Their success stories have inspired many a Malayalee to seek fortunes across the shores. However, there is a flipside to this success story.

Nurse Christal had a grand wedding four years ago but she has never known married life. She spent only a month with her husband Thomas before he left India for work.

Since then, she never heard from him until three months back, when Thomas sent her a divorce notice. A shocked Christal doesn’t know how to react.

“I have been waiting for four years. Three months back, I received a divorce notice. I want to know why does he want to divorce me,” said Christal, Nurse.

“There are several marriages. They are facing a lot of problems. The men say that they will call back in six months or a year. They never do,” said Girija Vyas, Chairperson, National Commission for Women.

Matter of habit

There are over a million women in Kerala whose husbands are working abroad. And now a workshop for NRI wives revealed that not all of them feel deserted by their husbands.

Annamma George, a lawyer, has been married for more than 20 years now. Her husband works in Dubai and they meet each other at least twice or thrice a year. But Annamma does not want her husband to come back very soon.

“I do not want my husband to throw his job away and come back. Our daughters have to finish their studies and get married. Once all that is done, then we don’t need the Gulf job,” said Annamma George, Lawyer.

But the long separation also affects the men who often feel exploited and unwanted in their own families.

“They feel that when they come back home they are unwanted guests in their own homes. The wife feels that she has been managing everything for 6-7 years. The husband coming back disturbs their routine. It is also a psychological stress for men,” said S Irudaya Rajan, Sociologist.

Kerala’s economy has always been referred to as a money-order economy, which is fuelled by millions of Keralites who live abroad and send remittances to their families on a regular basis.

The problems that these NRI Malayalees and their families face have largely been ignored. This two-day workshop on NRI wives in Thiruvananathapuram is an attempt to understand these problems. - NDTV

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