Thursday, October 23, 2008

Taking the good with the bad…

Sorry about missing last week’s blog post. I was in India and had minimum access to the internet. Thank you for all the emails enquiring about the skipped post. This trip in particular was an enriching experience.

Right before I left for India, my brother visited us from Singapore. Over Dussehra meal, we got nostalgic and talked about India. He said something pertinent. “The foreigners take the good with the bad when they visit India; it’s desis who throw tantrums.” I couldn’t agree with him more. My American friends, who have traveled to India, expressed their unease with the slums in Mumbai and the free-roaming monkeys in New Delhi, but in the same breath, praised the country for its food, energy, culture, warmth, and people.

I have seen several desis being all courteous towards Caucasian stewardesses in the airplane, but the minute they land in India, they think it’s their birthright to be rude. How about folks who try to impress people with their gum chewing abilities? These Neanderthals don’t think twice before littering up the Indian airports with the gum wrapper, but in the west, they carefully place their hands inside of trash bins to organize the garbage. It bothers me when people, who make India trips once every five years, whine about the country. I am sorry, but they haven’t taken the time to feel and enjoy the essence of India. What they judge India is by the weak infrastructure. I agree we reek of third world, but in some ways, aren’t we all responsible for it?

My husband and I once had the misfortune of sitting next to this “wannabe American” boy on the plane--a graduate student at one of the schools in Rochester, New York. He was from the streets of Bareily, India. In his two year stay in Rochester, the small town idiot acquired an American accent and forgot Hindi completely. He was surprised that my husband and I were interested in Bollywood or spoke any Hindi. He then said something, which made me want to beat him to a pulp. “When I land in Delhi, my sister, bro-in-law, and I will go to a club. My parents can go home. Who wants to just sit at home with them?”

I wonder what kind of deprived lives such people led when they lived in India. Do they believe that they sound debonair and modern by ridiculing their own country? In today’s day and age, people run back to their roots in search of distinctiveness. These bunch of desis are so quick to relinquish their identity.

I am not saying India is perfect. I, for one, disagree with a lot of our traditions and the systems in place, but that doesn’t give me the right to loathe India. I know corruption rules the country and the economic divide is appalling; however, no country or culture is perfect. It’s impossible to believe that there is nothing good about one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Where else in the world would a random stranger walk up to you, hug you, and say “God bless you, beta. You are so nice.” I am sure it could happen in the west, but then the urge to run for your life would supersede any other emotions. Only in India will people welcome you into their homes at 12a.m. and offer to serve a meal. In India, not for a single moment does loneliness visit you; with all the comforts and modernism in the west, even in a crowd, you are accompanied by solitude.

I believe it’s not India that needs to change; it’s the Indian attitude that needs readjustment. A lot of Indians are too quick to badmouth their own country because it doesn’t match the comforts of the west. Is that a legitimate rationale?

Maybe I have matured with age or my recent trip is the true muse for this post or maybe the Diwali preparations have me sing India’s tunes. Whatever be the reason, I have come to realize that I love India for what it is—take the good with the bad.

More until next time.

Copyright © 10.23.2008

"When I die India will be found engraved on my heart"--Queen Mary


Jaydeep said...

Not just India, Asia rocks in general. East will always be East.

Anonymous said...

don't even get me started on wannabe americans. disgusting they are.

Anonymous said...

true with a t,my dear.