This is the second article I write as a part of the NIDIA series I started sometime back. I wish to continue writing for as many years as I stay in the United States. Like always, I want my articles to behave like fast food.Lure, stuff and leave my readers with no place for anymore eating but make them want more next time. Hence no fact/detail sharing.
I was talking to a foreigner yesterday.He’s some one who has been seeing life from close quarters for atleast 50 years now.So lots of things we discussed were so totally agreeable for me personally. Two hours of conversation with him made me feel like a high school student in a Harvard classroom of astrophysicists. Lost in astonishment and flooded with questions about many things pertaining to life.
He admired Indian culture, appreciated the greatness of Indian cuisine and more importantly spoke of a particular concept of striking a balance between two worlds. One particular note worthy mention was when he admiringly spoke about a woman from India who he said was a perfect example of having struck a balance between the two worlds- American and Indian. Indira Nooyi. I beamed back in reply that she came from the humble beginnings of a south Indian middle class family and he appreciated the fact with a frank smile.
When he spoke about striking the balance, essentially he was referring to Indians living in United States and their lifestyles which he got to watch from real close quarters for many years now(He has grown up kids who have Indian friends).
Like a coin has two sides , this conversation had two sides too. Assuming that every person who reads this article knows how to strike a balance between good and bad in life, I will write in detail of the most important part of the conversation I had with this man.
Beginning at food and cultural vastness of India, the conversation turned towards life styles of Indian students here in the US. Well, there are many many Indian students who come into the US every year to have graduate education-a very well known fact. Every individual’s way of life varies and there are huge variations in the way a lot of Indian students live here. However since the day I have arrived here in the US, I did notice one fact. Indian students are classified distinctly into two categories here by most of the foreigners .
Category One– Organised, optimistic, fun loving and academically opulent students who adapt to a foreign culture within the limits of their cultural lenience.
Category Two– Disarrayed , culturally lacking and all over the place students who make sure to survive the change of environment by undergoing a self-losing transformation, which they are scared to come out of forever.
Apparently the person with whom I conversed with had a clear understanding of this classification.
I don’t want to judge any classification because I think every person has his/her way of life. However, a common feeling among many foreigners is that a majority of we Indians conveniently disrespect our own culture. We are ashamed to embrace our age old practices and habits because we are officially off the ‘forced’ social radar of culture abiding elders.
A couple of questions that remain in my head are:
Will we realize that we are voluntarily losing out on a priceless culture that will exist only through generations of people ?
Do we have the strength to stand up for a culture that emphasizes on order of life than merely calling it a ‘sham’ ?
Will we be able to courageously tell our coming generations that it is important to live by little bit of order in life ?
Only time and documented changes in cultural life of India by scientists will answers these questions!