International Community and Indians

(Image used for illustrative purpose only)
It has been quite a holiday on a Cruise. Catching up with family and catching up with yourself have been wonderful. I also realized that the strengths and weaknesses in your character are visible when one goes out of his/her usual environment. Besides gaining some weight, I have also gained the following wisdom while travelling, staying eating together with over 2000 people from dozens of nationalities.

1. Racism exists, though in much lesser extent. Racists come from western as well as eastern world. They differentiate you through the colour of your skin. And racism is most apparent in Elevators.

2. Birds of same feather, flock together. Irrespective of whether you are a American, Brazilian, Omani or a Japanese, you are elated to meet your fellow countryman on board. Different behavior in Indians though. Very fond of being the only ones, a sight of a fellow Indian threatens of shattering this exclusivity. Another reason is preoccupation with the family.

3. Taxi drivers are among the greatest ambassadors of any country. They form the first impression in a visiting tourist. They need to be screened and trained well before they are allowed to ferry any foreigner.

4. One observes many elderly people being carted on a wheelchair by their loved ones. Unfortunately, I did not see any Indian elderly person being wheelchaired. Guess old age is for sanyasashram in India, not holidaying on a Cruise.

5. Food is the greatest binder. Food brings people together more than any other thing. I observed Chicken Chettinad being relished by Europeans, Americans and Asians in equal measure.

6. Indians seem to be fussier about food than any other nationality. If you want to see many Indians dining together, just ask for the ‘vegetarian’ section of the buffet. Indians want ‘their’ kind of food. Not much for gourmet food or being known as connoisseur.

7. Raj Kapoor is the most popular Indian in erstwhile Soviet Russia countries. They identify you as an Indian by your skin & facial features and start singing ‘mera joota hai japani…” Cute.

Some of these observations border on over-generalizations. But the point that I am keen to make Indians need to better integrate with the world. Indians need to be large hearted to accept all cultures of the world instead of looking inwards. If Indians have to dominate the world in thought and action, then it is imperative to know how the world behaves and thinks today. Each thought and action are a product of one’s environment. It is necessary that peace and co-existence rules the world and India is a best positioned to teach those things to the world. Peace and Co-existence. Happy Independence Day, India!!!