An interesting conversation...  

Posted by Divya A L

DISCLAIMER: Did not intend bias towards a particular country as such!! This is purely a personal experience of my friend!

This is about a conversation that took place between one of my friends and his travel-mate in a flight to Germany. My friend was here a couple of weeks ago , a holiday visit to India. To give you a brief introduction, he is a doctor by profession and probably the only married bachelor so far. :) He is currently pursuing his research studies in Germany. So, after a short termed holiday back in his homeland, he left to Germany 3 days ago. He wrote to us about this travel experience in a mail. Quite interesting and thought provoking I must say. Here it goes -
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"During my travel back here I met a very interesting french lady..may be around 60 yrs old...she was going back from her 4th visit to INDIA..when we started a conversation, slowly i was getting amazed at her knowledge about the geography of our country..hence the initial formal discussion turned out into a detailed one...i have never met a foreigner so pro-Indian as her in my life..especially after travelling abroad i keep hearing only negative comments about our country..below are some excerpts from my discussion with her..i wish every Indian was like her!!!!!!!!!..

she : i have been to India 4 times..have visited the north,south and west..next time would like to come to east...

me : what is ur opinion about India

she : to put it one sentence i would like to say that " yours is the only country where people are happy in true sense..you people are truly blessed to be born in such a country"..

I was surprised at this statment..the most common reply i get when i ask my above question is that the country is poor,dirty etc etc..when i told her this she replied

she : problems are everywhere..one needs to look beyond the negative things and look at the positive aspects..there are lot of positive things about India..especially the family bonding u ppl have..definitely social life is better than other countries..and one more thing..i think Indians are unique in that they absorb the negative things and go ahead with their life hoping for the best and trying to dig out the positive things..this is not true in the country i come from..we can never handle the negative things in our system..we panic very easily..i am living in france since 30 yrs and i can tell u that the happiness one finds in India is not there in any other country in europe.."

me : i hear often that foreigners report bitter experiences with Indian hospitality?

she : when u go to any country there are certain rules to be followed..as long u stick to these u shld be fine..but of course there are bad elements always everywhere..u cant blame a country as a whole for some stupid fellows"

for me this was getting more interesting!!...i told about the general comparisons made by Indians themselves who go abroad comparing Indian systems and problems with those of USA and europe..she replied

she : Take the example of france..it is a developed country..but we are "poor" in happiness..we are poor in human values..i think people in India work harder than us..we want things to come without any effort...we cannot handle any sudden chaos in our system...we think only about euros ...i was in bangalore this time..i think it is a exploding city..there are lot of problems now like traffic etc but i think in coming yrs it will be a better place..this is what i was referring to look beyond the negative aspects..i also have been to places like mysore, rajashtan and cochin..you people have great tradition and culture..i have toured almost the entire world but i dont find such a set up anywhere else..i think in coming years India will be the number one country in the world..

The above sentence written in bold is actually the words came out from her mouth straight..there was joy in her face when she told this..i mean this lady is so attached to our country than we think we are!!!..but her last few words in the discussion were the words of caution from her side for Indians...this is what she told later

" I think slowly you are getting influenced by the west culture and being more materialistic in life..this is the main danger to hamper your progress..you all should realise what a country you are blessed with...but i think whatever happens the family and friendship values continue to thrive in your country and i think thats what is the driving force in coming days for u all...."

but her punch line came in the end. ( i think superstar Rajnikanth would also envy such a punch line!!)

she: " u r going away from ur home and i towards home..i think both of us are equally sad..!!"

I dont know how debatable was her views or realisitic..but i learnt quite few things from this lady..i think all of us have something or the other to learn from such an experience..and since this discussion happend on the republic day in the flight it was even more special to me..my hopes about my country strengthened even more..only one question was drilling my head after this talk :
"if a visitor to our country can have such views about our own country cant we make a difference to our country's progress??"
"

And obviously, the first Q that was triggered at him was - "Anila you're saying you want to improve the country, whats your first step? for that matter whats the first step any of us would take?"

Namma doctorina answers ee reethi ive -

"1.first step to improve our country is "believe" in our country...without this nothing is possible..

2.if u do ur work honestly in ur place may be thats the best way to make a start to set right ur life first and look beyond...

3. it is good to accept good things about other countries but dont lose ur '"Indianness" in the process..( i hope here the "good things" are not very relative!!)

4. progress does not mean only to contribute to the economic success...it is also maintaining our culture,tradition,social values etc etc...think ur self how much time u spend with ur parents and friends..what justice u can do to these relationships..prioritize the events in ur life...it may be very minor things like spending time at home, caring for the needs for ur dependants,atleast some social events like some festivals etc etc..all these atomic things actually make up the bigger material..we wont realise it thats all...all these involuntarily strengthens our family,social and friendship bonding...progress of the country starts from every home...of course the priorites of life are different for different people..but these small things mentioned above all contribute to the process..

5. i have seen some people crib about not going abroad on site even being in software field!!...thing about our country is u know it better when u miss it for sometime...so i feel that it is good to stay outside for couple of months to actually realise what aa paradise u r away from....(does not apply to those who easily westernise!)

6. when i first came here had shown some of my shimoga trip snaps to my lab people..they told me they never had guessed India can be so beautiful..if their reaction to the places around shimoga was like this imagine for the whole country?...the problem is Indians who go out dont speak high about the country..it is a very easy approach to acclimatize to the western setup and comment on our system and setups...my question is "show me one place where there are no problems?"....may be we have more compared to others...one sentence i was impressed with that lady whom i discussed that she said we are unique in that we absorb negative things at ease and continue with our life..this is very true atleast for me..we hope more than anybody else in the world..here in germany one small traffic jam will hamper the whole life that day!!..thats the "capacity" of these people to handle chaos...well u can argue that things are so organized here that these things happen rarely...my answer is that in this process u gradually decrease ur hope and ur ability to absorb problems..that does not mean that these developments are necesaary..of course they are required..this is just a different context of arguement...

7. u can never compare a country which has more than 5000 yrs of history to the developed countries..our plethora of problem are by the virtue of our history, tradition,culture,diversity etc etc....if u look back at ancient indian culture i can argue we had the best scientists to be ever produced...we knew the atomic theory and had the plan to build a nuclear reactor thousands of years ago (sage kanada)...we knew the speed of light thousands of yrs ago (rigveda)..dwaraka explorations have revealed that dwaraka was real..nobody in the world can design a city like dwaraka...if dwaraka was real then it favours the existence of the all time mysterious and my all time favourite character "krishna"..i look upon him as the greatest scientist to have ever set foot on this planet..mahabharatha is full of scientific events..u can write books on this..sorry for deviating the topic..but just look back at what we have inherited and what are we now?...the point is to erase this "comparison" and cribbing factor of our system and to think what can be done being within this setup?..even i have suffered a lot academically by our so called "System"..but that has not made me hate the system..it has made me even more determined to get back to the system again and excel....

8. in the long term think what can u do best being born in this country...if u are true to ur indianness thats the best u can do ..do ur duites properly..set ur life right..set ur family life right..set ur home right..country becomes better...

9. my contribution to my country would be to contribute to my country's research progress..i know the turmoils of doing research in India but that is my inspiration to enter the struggle..I have been in the "system" for 3 yrs and i know what it takes...that has made me even more spirited...if everyone can set something like this i think it is a lot for the country...

10..as i said "progress" refers to endless minute things put together..somewhere in ur life if u think u r doing justice to being born in such a blessed country i think thats what is expected from every body...every "movement" starts from such small things..

11. before coming to europe everybody told me to tour the parts of world here bcoz i am in proximity..now after 2 yrs of staying here i have decided that the best thing to do in my life is to tour my country properly!..thats the beauty of the country we are blessed with....

12. lastly , there is no place in the world like sahakaranagar and there is no organisation in the world like our group :)...even after a long time we are still together...this is also a minute contribution from all of us in being more Indian at heart!! "
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Couldn't have said it better doctorji!!! Full points to you!!! :))) People getting westernised is very evident in every sphere of the day to day routine. Right from having branded apparels to awing at hi-cost insensible movies to the craze of settling abroad in an attempt to make money to almost everything!!! Wake up the so called "westernised - Indians"!!

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at Saturday, January 30, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

4 comments

That's a lot of gyaan.. :)

Personally, I don't agree with a lot of points here - seems to be a very short-sighted perspective on Indian-ness and loyalty.

Just as India, decades ago, moved from small princely states to a union, the world today is moving towards being a global community and global economy; our loyalties must accordingly shed the small picture and think "globally".

Looking at the big picture, in the next few decades or centuries, human-kind will either survive as the so-called "world-community" or perish as petty microcosms :)

Sorry for the long rant, and my views may not be acceptable to anyone else - but that's just me and my opinion!!

February 2, 2010 at 11:13 PM

I have been deferring writing a comment, on fear that it would end up a full fledged blog post.

One could 'externally' observe a small group of tigers in a zoo at their nap time and conclude that all tigers are always relaxed and happy. To know the true meaning of their life, one needs to live their life amongst them in their own jungle.

We are good on our own, and there is no need to compare with the western world. That said, there are so many things that we could learn from them; we can choose to look beyond them and live happily in our microcosm, but it would be only foolish to do so. The key thing for us to learn is to respect people - most of our problems are related to the fact that the value we place on human life and dignity is abysmal.

February 7, 2010 at 10:39 AM

@Sreejith: "Globalization" is definitely the apt word I agree.. But then it doesn't mean you stop being patriotic. I was just trying to let people know that we Indians are really better off than the foreigners in many aspects. When someone outside India is ready to accept this, why not us???

February 9, 2010 at 5:18 PM

@Sagar:
:) I wouldn't have minded even if it were to be a full fledged blog post :)


Your example of the tigers precisely tell us that everything has its own pros and cons. The grass always appears green on the other side.

Talking about the comparison, most often than not, people see things relatively. No comparisons is the best thing to do, but when people do compare and spk ill of one's own country, why not compare the positives of it too? Both have to be weighed equally instead of just cribbing about the negatives. This post's intention was just to let them know that one has to be proud of what they have and what is their role/responsibility which are indeed minor ones, to make it better!!

February 9, 2010 at 5:28 PM

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