A Case study in going back to India – Ramesh & Swati Ramanathan

Updated Nov 26, 2006:  This post originally published Nov 15, 2005 is in the top 5 links for “going back to India” on Google. So i thought i will update this post to link to other posts i have written on the topic. See below.

Updated again Dec 6, 2006: One more post in this series Desipundited. See below.

Ramesh & Swati left their high flying careers in the US to go back to India and start Janaagraha. This article titled “How to retire at 34” gives a superb snapshot of the life-changing counter-intuitive decisions the couple have made throughout their lives. By the way, Ramesh’s calculations of how much money you need to survive in India (Rs. 50 lakhs or about $110,000 per year) seems way too high. Any thoughts on this?  

Janaagraha by itself is another excellent idea that is likely to have a dramatic impact on India. This is one couple worth keeping track of (Via Sridhar Iyer).

New links added:
1. My observations about my first 2 weeks in India.
2. Will you find your favorite products in India – an analysis. This post was desipundited.
3. Innovation zealots may like this post i did on RMKV’s innovative silk sarees.
4. Reviews of 2 restaurants that are my current favorites in Chennai – Benjarong Thai and Cedar’s Lebanese Cuisine.
5. My first taste of India’s bureaucracy.
6. How much money do you need to retire in India? This post is now Desipundited.


  1. Anonymous said November 23, 2005, 3:44 pm:


    I agree with you. Rs. 50 Lakhs a year does seem high. I guess that includes what Ramesh calls as ‘staff’ (which implies full time employess rather than part-time maid etc.) and the vacation trip around the globe. The only full-time staff that I think will be needed is a car driver.

    I believe that if your mortgage is paid for (i.e, you own your home), in a city like Chennai you can certainly live a *very* comfortable life with half the amount. Assuming that you own one of these new ‘american’ type homes, the biggest variable I hear could be your child’s education fees. I hear that Western style schools such as KFI could amount to 3 lakhs per year, while a sankara would be Rs. 50,000.

    Who knows, maybe I am way off base and you can certainly give your first hand opinion in another 6 months 🙂


  2. Anonymous said November 27, 2005, 7:43 pm:

    good points Ganesh. Like you say, i will give you my first hand experience in a few months.