We spent a week in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia in Sept. One of the days when we went on the walking tour, the tour guide pointed out to Cafe’s that dot every street and said, the national pastime in Croatia is drinking coffee and complaining. We all laughed politely but he made a good point … and I immediately thought back to India and wondered what was our national pastime besides Cricket and Politics. I got the answer the day we returned.
Our entire round trip (Delhi-Vienna-Delhi) was booked on Emirates, with a stop over at Dubai. On our return trip, once we settled down into our seats, the gentleman sitting right behind me said hello to the young man who was sitting next to him and then started a conversation that got me so riled up that Krishnan had to physically restrain me from getting up and having a go at that man. The man sitting right behind me has been working in Dubai for 15 years, comes to India for 4 to 6 weeks every six months and this was one such trip. The young man sitting next to him was a Lebanese teenager who had just completed school and wanted to “find” himself and was coming to India as his first overseas trip for a couple of weeks.
The man sitting behind me started off innocently enough – where are you from? Where are you going to in India?… the young man said he was going to Rishikesh. The man started off – “India is a really unsafe country, especially for Muslims (not realising that the boy was not Muslim but a Christian!!). The roads are terrible, it will take you nearly 10 hours to get to Rishikesh. Why are you travelling alone? You want to do meditation at such a young age? You should actually travel with your friends or some elder and not alone. Dubai roads are great but you won’t find such roads in India and complain and complain and complain….”
Am sure, this man works in a deep pit in Dubai and shovels dirt for a living because if he has been coming to India every six months and hasn’t seen the development happening here, he has to be blind, deaf and living under a rock. Also this national pastime of speaking badly about one’s own country while doing nothing to fix the genuine problems is the exclusive to my generation – the ones born in the sixties and seventies, hitting middle age (call it by any other name, 40 is middle age, if life expectancy is 80). We spent all our time complaining about how “nothing” works in India, that its dirty, that people sit on railway lines to poop and men use every crevice to pee in public.
I was seething and my friends know that I am seething still … I didn’t physically assault the man, but as soon as we got off the plane, I caught hold of this young man and introduced myself and said “Welcome to my great country. I apologise for the gentleman who almost scared you off India. Its a great decision to come to India and especially to go to Rishikesh to find yourself. We are just a large country with too many people, but you are as safe as in any large city. Once you have a phone, every railway station has free WiFi, so check everything online. To go to Rishikesh there is every mode of transport, train, car and bus. So just don’t worry and enjoy yourself.” I gave him my card and asked him to get in touch incase he needed help at any time. The young man is Jacob and hope he gets to read this blog and am quite sure, my fellow citizens are taking good care of him.
And I don’t expect that man-under-a-rock to read this but if his daughter happens to read the blog, I certainly hope she dins some sense into him.
I think, my generation misses the opportunities to take potshots at their Motherland. You can no longer go to parties after your vacation in Europe and say, oh our roads are so dirty ! while contributing your bit to the trash. Swachh Bharat is here and has made a huge difference. Hamburg, Frankfurt and Berlin are dirtier than Vizag, Ahmedabad and Indore. Am writing this blog using the airport WiFi and am able to upload pics that I just took –
And just for comparison sake – two nights back we were at the International Airport of the “most livable” city in the world, Vienna and couldn’t find seats to sit and wait for our flight !! If this beautiful T3 terminal of Delhi doesn’t make you proud, I don’t know what will. Not just this airport, the Mumbai International Airport is a work of art – its energy balanced. Tell me any other airport in the world that can claim that ! The Hyderabad airport is the easiest to navigate and the most logical…. I can keep adding many more to just the list of airports leave alone train stations.
Is the loss of the opportunity to diss our country that bothers us so much ? Even a Pakistani defends his PM and his country which he knows is a safe haven for terrorists, but Indians of my generation just want to park their bums on comfortable sofas and hold forth on how Modi’s fasting on Navratras is not secular. Ohh Please stay away from me. I can get violent. I don’t follow Gandhiji’s Ahimsa policy.
The youth is energised and enthusiastic – it’s just their parents that I am sad about.
I have a question for my generation – do you know of this guy called Ripu Daman and do you know “Plogging” ?
Get out from under the rock and get off the comfy couch and start “Plogging”. If any Tamilian brother or sister thinks Plogging is the Tamilian pronounciation for “blogging” – it’s not. You are just several feet below the rock and haven’t seen daylight since MGR died. Get out before you are Mummified as a Christian Converted Saint along with Stalin. :(:(
Am I pissed ? You bet. Hey, feel free to hate Modi, but if you don’t like and support India as an Indian, then please get out and live wherever you wish to. I am a proud Bhakt, a Bharat Bhakt and I am easily identifiable in my saree – look around before you speak ill of my country, especially if you are a fellow Indian. Krishnan won’t restrain me at all times … and I can pack a punch.
Jai Hind. Jai Hind ki Sena. Happy Navratras.