In other words, parents of Non-Resident Indians.
These parents have a lot more in common than just their children living away from them in foreign lands. They face common issues at home - loneliness, lack of a support system, travel issues, management of funds, etc. So they banded together to form associations. Many such associations are already up and running in almost every major city in India including Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Baroda, Ahmedabad and Coimbatore.
How do these associations help? In more ways than you can imagine:
They meet every month; organise excursions, get-togethers and recreational activities; celebrate festivals; bring out newsletters and directories of members; and in times of need provide a rock-solid support network. At a more practical level, they provide lists of recommended vital service providers, hold lectures and workshops on typical concerns like travel, insurance, healthcare, and foreign exchange; teach members to become computer-savvy enough to stay in regular e-mail contact with their children; help those travelling abroad, especially first-timers, with visa and passport modalities, ticketing, medical insurance and the like; and stand guard over each other's personal and material well-being. Some associations even advise their members' NRI children on investment, property ownership, taxation, repatriation of funds, inheritance, and dual citizenship, and help returnees relocate and resume careers and children's education.One aspect of this banding together that I love is the fact that these parents watch out for each others' well-being, especially in times of medical crises. The article tells the stories of aged parents having to go through medical procedures, but not having to have their children catch the first flight back home. Because this time around they had their buddies accompanying them on doctors' visits, staying with them at the hospital and taking them back home with them to recuperate after the procedures.
What a sense of comfort this must be, not just for the parents but for the children as well.
So if you're living abroad and have parents living in India, directing them to these associations may not be a bad idea.
Crossposted on Desicritics.org.