|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
'I know this place belongs to me'
Sheela Bhatt in Hyderabad | January 07, 2006 17:31 IST
Last Updated: January 09, 2006 11:25 IST
She is beautiful, delicate and intelligent. She epitomises the Indian woman although she is an American. She acquired United States citizenship two years ago, but she is an apt symbol for "India 2006".
She was wearing an Indian embroidered blouse and saree, which had Western designs, with élan.
Mixing the best of East and West seemed natural to her.
She is the senior-most executive of Intel India presently working as technical manager for research and development of mobile platform technologies for handheld and laptop computers.
And now, on Saturday Prime Minister Manmohan Singh awarded her the first dual citizenship making her a very proud Indian. At the moment, she is very sentimental about what US has given her to shape her personality, making her worthy of honour and prestige back home.
She spoke exclusively to rediff.com with moist eyes, but a firm voice.
To begin with she said, "I pronounce my name as Nivritee, but spell it as Nivruti."
Nivruti was born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India and brought up in Lucknow.
Her father Buddhi Sagar Rai was an engineer in Uttar Pradesh's irrigation department.
Fifteen years ago, she migrated to US when she married Dr Sunit Tyagi.
He is also a director in Intel and holds an Indian passport even after 20 years in US.
She did her masters from Oregon State University and joined Intel in 1995.
She has five US and international patents pending in her name.
Rai while talking about US said, "I find US having an open society, which gives space to study and grow. US allowed me to be the person I am."
But, she said even in US, girls are scared of studying Maths and Engineering.
She volunteered for work in hospitals and other places to add qualifications to acquire US citizenship.
"I don't know through which bureaucratic process I was chosen, but I am delighted. Maybe because I have contributed in US society in terms of technical development as well as social development. Maybe, I have been chosen because I am a woman. I am in a hi-tech industry, which is primarily male-dominated. I have been given the honour of being a principal engineer, which is like a big post." Another reason she thinks she was chosen for a great hounour is because in September 2005 she moved back to India and started living in Banglore.
Long back, the Rai couple had taken a conscious decision that one of them would remain Indian. We always wanted an option. It was a kind of dual citizenship within our own family. Under this arrangement, if we wanted to work in India, we could and without any hassle, work in US too."
"Dual citizenship is the gateway to access energy of two nations," Rai said.
"Now that I am having dual citizenship, from today I myself can work in both places. In US and in India and contribute to the growth of both countries," she added.
Looking back on her past, she said, "I was happy to migrate to US because then we didn't have as many opportunities."
In US not only has she progressed quite well, but Rai said, "I feel that I could be a role model to a lot of women in India and US. We can do it! I believe it. It's wrong to think that women can't do maths well or can't be engineers. I think we can be as progressive as men in our careers."
She said her sons Rohan,12, and Shachi, 8, will also benefit with her new status as both of them have also applied for dual citizenship.
"We wanted to be able to live in any country we wanted. So Sunil remained an Indian citizen. His being an Indian citizen allowed us to move back to India and my US citizenship allowed us to stay and work in US."
"Although I feel very Indian, I like US organisations and structures. When I moved to Bangalore, I was fearful every time I went out. Everyday I hoped to come back alive safe. I was afraid of the traffic and such things. But now, I am used to it and enjoying it."
Lastly, she said, "In India there is something inexplicable. When I get down at Lucknow airport, I know that this place belongs to me. When I see a tree in my old bazaar, I know even the tree knows my story and knows me so well."