I read in one of the papers a couple of days ago that there are some 183 countries in the world, and there are NRIs in an astounding 180 of them! Now that’s a pretty hefty ratio for you. And that doesn’t count diplomats, who get paid to stay in all these places – the NRIs earn their keep and pay taxes in these countries. That’s just fantastic news, really.
We all are aware of the big time, hefty, high-end NRIs like Nobel Prize winners, head honchos of large corporates, heads of VC funds, etc – but it’s the small fellows who are the mainstay of the NRI thingy: the taxi drivers, the small shop owners, the restaurant owners, the magazine stall fellows, the cricketers, the people who started small and built large businesses.
In this series of notes, I shall pay tribute to the contributions of unsung heroes among the NRIs – the small guys, the little fellows, the working class NRIs.
I mentioned cricketers somewhere earlier in this piece – and yes, we have exported cricketers in the past. The names of Ranji and Duleepsinghji, Rohan Kanhai, Sonny Ramadhin, and Raman Subba Row are writ large in the annals of the game.
Right now, let us pay tribute to the twin brothers who left the shores of Maharashtra when they were tiny tots, and over time they played very significant roles in the cricketing history of their adopted country, Australia. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Satyadev Wagh and Makarand Wagh!
Of course, they had to redo the spelling of their names a little bit – the population of their host country couldn’t handle the originals. But that is a small price to pay if you wish to feel at home in a new environment.
Congratulations, Steve and Mark, to use your new names! We salute you for making your mother country and your adopted nation proud of you! Way to go, kids! And of course, who can forget the wondrous deeds of Shantaram Warne, who recently retired from all forms of cricket?
The Waghs and Warne are not the only Maharashtrians to make it big. Here’s one other little known name. Suhas Dodge. What do you mean you haven’t heard of him? Come on, guys and the few gals who are out there! You haven’t heard of Dodge cars? Where do you think that name came from??