My recent visit to India was after 2 years. As an Indian who lives in USA , whenever i visit my family , I have that inquisitive-ness – what would have changed in India , during this time? Every time I go back , I get some cultural shocks because lets face it things have changed in 10 years – the time I left India , I ponder over the spending capacity of people and I keep on comparing everything between my time and today’s time. But then its my motherland. Its my country. Its my home. I love it and I definitely miss it. I miss India for the warmth of the people, the taste of the food, the way people celebrate festivals , the ease of drying clothes in sunny skies( something i really really miss in USA :p) and the attitude of people towards God and spirituality. In my every visit to India , I feel more alive , I learn a lot and it brings me closer to reality. Here are few things which I feel make my experience of visiting India unique “10 Things I learnt in India”
1) Just be happy , worry another day :
Whenever I visit India , I always have this urge of – live in the moment. My visit to India is generally centered around meeting friends and family and those moments seem so precious that you do not want to trade off it with any other thing – no adventure , no other trip , nothing. Its all about catching up with their lives , reminiscing old things , and remembering your childhood days. Its about family re-unions and evening dates with friends. Its those moments when you really feel – This is it. Just be happy. This is life. I will worry about my job , my visa status, my promotion, my boss some other day.
2) There is nothing like “too many people”:
Its the closeness and openess of people that makes India so fun. I love the attitude – “invite one , invite all – come one, come all” in India. The more the merrier. Happiness is in sharing.
3) Happiness can be found in small things:
The definition of happiness changes from person to person. My mom has been volunteering in a school that takes care of educating kids from very poor families.I was lucky enough to spend some time with these underprivileged kids and realized happiness for them is that moment when they get a glass of milk everyday after the end of school. And if you ever combine that glass of milk with a snack , it is unbound happiness. It made me realize the simplicity of their lives and the fact that as long as people are getting their basic material needs met, they can be happy — with the right attitude.
4) Food must be shared and not be wasted:
Which brings me to my next point. There is no denying the fact that India is stricken with poverty. There are people who are struggling to get basic needs and proper food We must curtail the wastage of food. What we throw in dustbins , can feed many.
5) Its hard to change people’s opinion :
Whether it is about set norms of the society or which political party should win the elections, it is really hard to change people’s opinion.
6) Domestic help is a privilege :
When anyone asks me “How is life in US ?”, it is very hard to answer. Apart from work life balance and good salary – there is nothing I can boast about my life in US. Specially because we do each and every house chore ourselves. In India there is luxury of “KAAM WALA”. There is person for everything – the one who cleans the dishes to washes your clothes , to drive you to work to get your grocery to even cook your food. Domestic help is cheap and that is privilege that almost everyone in India enjoys.
7) Cricket was and always be India’s no 1 religion:
I remember as a kid , the day there used to be a cricket match , people will try to reach back home early to watch it or people will gather around shops with televisions to enjoy it. After so many years ,countless matches and post retirement of Sachin Tendulkar , I am happy to report – the craze is still the same. Cricket is still the binding force in India and I met many people on my recent trip to India who still follow game closely and do not miss a single game. It is safe to say – Cricket is the only religion in India that actually unites people.
8) Traffic and long queues teach you how to be patient:
I remember the day I was getting married , the time on card was 7 pm and one of my American friends asked me – So the time of wedding is 7 pm or is it “Indian Standard time” like add an hour or so more to it. I affirmed no 7 it is , smiling in my heart thinking he would understand the intricacies of traffic, chaos and population once he sees it. Its pointless for me to explain it right now. And that is exactly what happened. In India, simple tasks like getting a bus, some work in public office , finding the post office, and getting decent Wi-Fi become challenging.You will learn to appreciate mundane, everyday tasks because no matter what ,it takes time to get things done in India. You can blame it on population , infrastructure, callous attitude or just the way things are – point is patience is a virtue and you have to exercise this virtue to fit in .
9) There is Jugaad( means way around) for everything :
As an Indian , I am proud of the fact that we know 2 or 3 ways to do a thing. If things do not work out organically or take too much time , we know the short-cuts. We know the back doors. We know someone , somewhere via someone who will make that task easier for us. There is jugaad for everything.
10) Embrace the chaos and you will thrive in it :
There is no denying the fact that India is messy and chaotic. You see it , the moment you come out of a airport and taxi-walas bombard you with questions or a simple stroll in the market and vendors shove the jewelry or anything that they are selling on your face. The more you resist it , more distant you will get away from the reality. Once you master the power of saying “No” and learn how to stand your ground and fight for the fair price , you will actually thrive and rather take advantage of the chaos.