(Image taken from www.sodahead.com)
Life is strange. It gives you something at the cost of something else. You win some you loose some, isn’t it?
Yesterday we had gone to my husband’s friend’s house. We were having a friends get together, as he was leaving back for Pune from Amritsar, where he works for a Swiss multinational. Incidentally his sister, who had come to India from Fremont, California was their with her husband. We, four friend couples and didi ( elder Sister) and her husband really had a stirring discussion about India and the world at large. Since we have also just come back from our London Vacation (I am saying as if we go Overseas every year ! showing off Jyoti ???), so the topic was more relevant, as everyone was pulling our leg, ‘Ab toh tum bhi London Return ho gaye ho’( now even you have become foreign Returned).
While we were discussing about the wealth that came out from Sai Baba trust and one more Mandir trust, how that money can be used for upliftment of our country, we all became really worried as to what is going to happen to our country having so much corruption. While getting depressed on the state of affairs, we all agreed on one point that even our country is evolving, and you never know, these things/ realisations are a part of a growing country like ours. We compared our country to our neighbouring countries, and felt happy at the pace at which we are growing. We all even wished that such like discussions (as we were having) must have been happening everywhere in India, having so much of young generations.
As didi is in US for more than a decade, we wanted to know her and Bhaiya’s views on top three things they miss of India, and top three things of US which they like.
The word instantly and unanimously that came out for top three things they miss about India was
We asked ‘what this?’ They said, this, the gatherings of friends like this, the closeness of bonds, the fun and frolic, the joys and sorrows shared together, shoulders to lean on. They said, not that they don’t have good friends there but the ‘Tadka’ (Zing (implied meaning), the extra butter layer on humble lentils (the literal meaning)), is what they miss. There is a Zing in relations in India, which lights up your existence with LIFE.
So true, the warmth of bonds and relations, that we Indians have. Chacha, Mausa, Tau and Maasi, Chachi, Tayi instead of seemingly unaffectionate Uncle and Aunty, and off late Mr So and so and Mrs So and so. (In foreign countries (other than the South Asian or Middle East countries), all the relations be it paternal or maternal are called Uncle/ Aunty, where as in India, mother’s brother is Mama, where as Father’s brother is Chacha. Every relation has a different name and hierarchical status. A cousin is not a mere cousin, but called as a brother or a sister, like the real ones, as didi or bhaiya (Elder Sister or Elder Brother) giving the bond between children a distinct closeness.
Second was, of course ‘FOOD’. This also led to a discussion, on how bland the National Dish of England, Fish and Chips, is. Also how Malai Chicken Tikka has won over the taste buds of Britishers, even claiming, that Malai Chicken Tikka was invented by Britishers only. Didi felt that nowadays, Indian food is available everywhere in the world but it does not have the same taste as it has in India. May be water or the things used is the reason, we all concluded.
Third reason…. they could not decide upon.
For the things they like about USA was again, immediate and unanimous reply CLEANLINESS, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SYSTEMS. Their statement brought back the smile on my face, as this was exactly what I had also felt the moment we roamed around the streets of London. Infact I actually agree with their frustration, India has everything to become like USA, but the corrupt system and mindset of people is a hindrance. The kind of money that is stashed away in Overseas banks or the Mandir’s of India, had it been utilised properly, No one can stop India from becoming a super power. But who will bell the cat? We Indians since ages, wait for a Messiah, who will come to our rescue. Be it Lord Krishna or Mahatma Gandhi, we just keep waiting, doing nothing, doing, helping or supporting corruption, by either being a part of it or by silently watching it.
At the same time it really gave me hope that these are the things which, my country, India, can get rid of, only requirement is of will; both from the people as well as administrative setup of governance. Deep within I really have hope that this youth will reshape the country. The hue and cry over corruption is may be the beginning signs of a changed mindset of a new generation.
Second answer was the WEATHER there. Especially at their place it never goes beyond 25 degrees C in summers. This also strengthened my husband’s view that other than Australia, most of the developed nations have this kind of weather only, and most of the developing nations are having tropical weather.
Third was no Relatives or friends pressure of answerability, you can live the way you want to. “You need not fall into the traps of ‘Show off’, especially the way it is in Punjab”, Didi compared. “Just to please your womanly instinct you have Diwali to show off your Sarees or Jewellery or gifts. Your husband can help you in household work without thinking of any one saying something, which is not possible in India especially in Joint families (which are so prevelant in Amritsar and as a whole in Punjab)” said Didi giving a sigh of relief.
But Didi does not want to return to India, where as Bhaiya does. But in the end the fact prevailed that most of the Indians there have a ‘TRISHANKU’ (in between heaven and earth) SITUATION’, neither fully here nor there. Their moral values say that they should feel as motherland towards the country that gives them bread and Butter, but at the same time they are unable to place their country of origin at a second place, due to the bonds they have. When they are in US they feel, India has this or that, and it’s better to be there. But when they are in India, they feel US has this or that or rather they get frustrated at India, for not having those things. This tears them apart throughout their life. Didi was really emotional when she proudly said that even while taking the pledge, the words that come to mouth are INDIA only.
This brought me back to the very thought of writing the blog “Life is strange. It gives you something at the cost of something else. You win some you loose some, isn’t it?”
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