(Author – Soma Vyas)
A journey to your birth country and going back to the place where you live is never easy. All those who live outside their motherland could relate very well. Months of planning, ticket bookings, shopping, packing, excitement of meeting with family and friends…. All this preparation for those few weeks which just flies. Last weekend when we took that long flight from Delhi to NY after spending special moments,laughter, joy and tears with family….we all were fully exhausted;emotionally and physically.
But that didn’t stop me to notice that lots of fellow non-Indian passengers were wearing Indian attire, sarees, kurtas, long traditional skirts or just a t-shirt with ‘OM’ and last but not the least a long “tilak” or “bindi” on forehead. I felt proud of being an Indian, proud of what my country could offer traditionally and spiritually.
After taking our dinner we all tried to make our selves as much comfortable as was possible in that plane seat and tried to take a nap. After 2-3 hours of uncomfortable sleep, my four-year old had an immediate urge to use the bathroom. I quickly scanned the scene outside bathrooms… out of four bathroom one was out-of-order and other one had a blocked wash basin forcing crew member to close it for hygienic purpose. That left only two bathrooms with a really long queue. Just a look at it and I knew my four-year old won’t make it so I decided to ask the crew members to let me use the blocked bathroom which had a dirty wash basin with a promise that I will not use the wash basin just the toilet.The attendant was really understanding and opened it for me. Just as I was about to step in, out of nowhere I heard this remark, “You know the sink is really dirty but I guess it’s ok with you Indians.”
That remark was too much to ignore so I turned to look at my fellow passenger, gave him a long look before replying ” No Sir, it’s not ok even for Indians but he is a four-year old kid who can’t control this basic urge … Hope at least you could understand that much!!” And I walked with my son in that dirty bathroom while the crew member kept apologizing for this discomfort.
As the journey continued this conversation lingered on, I kept thinking about two sides of this conversation… And I felt like conveying these two points. One from an Indian to Indian..When a tourist visits India it’s not just Taj Mahal or Red Fort they see but they also see the beggars, litter, rudeness, bad traffic, dishonesty, harassment of genders…so next time when you throw a emapty chips packet on the road, when you try to cheat a tourist, when you behave inappropriately please stop and think as what kind of impression you are creating? What kind of country you want .. A neat one or a dirty one?? I have observed so many times that same law-abiding, clean Indian citizen in other country totally changes the moment he/she step outside the airport in India. Who is responsible for this sudden change? That person or our own country’s environment of carelessness towards its cleanliness? A point to ponder my fellow Indians.. a point to ponder!!
Second point I want to make to that fellow passenger and to all others … I don’t know which country you are from but I am sure that your country also has some negative points as well. If you see some negative thing about other country, it doesn’t mean that we all represent that… do not generalize! No country is perfect but as a responsible citizens we all try to improve upon that. At least I believe in it and I know many of us do too!! Let’s accept what is wrong with us; not to criticize in front of others but to improve and excel!!
Special Note: Based on a real life experience.