It sometimes requires a lot of effort to come out of your dumps, beat the blues and get into the real world amidst the thick of things. The last two weeks kept me busy with the unfavourable modes of life, and after sighing (a bit actually) and sulking, I came to terms with reality and now have moved on pretty well. A two weeks of hiatus from the world of blogging, I wanted to continue only if I found something stirring and moving to write about, instead of writing about the daily vagaries of life. What better topic can get more evocative than writing about the country! All Indian channels are beaming the news to keep us aware that India is turning 60, but that feeling lay hidden somewhere in the corner of my heart, and I had not truly felt the magnitude of the moment. Of course, the feeling was developing within over the last few days, but not good enough to express it in words. Some things are best left unwritten when the moment does not take you over. One has to wait for the right moment to express certain things, and today, I had a generous influx of unimaginable emotional and patriotic sentiments towards MY country. There is always a sense of pride(I wish there is a better word in English to express this moment) when I talk about India, but today, the feeling was just overwhelming as I was flooded with a sense of patriotic fervour towards the country.
Lazing around the whole day, spending time on books and movies, the evening plan was made to watch Chak De India, where Shahrukh Khan(was one of my personal favorites in the industry; I used to love his mature thoughts in interviews) dons the role of the Indian women's hockey national team's coach, bringing together a group of girls from different parts of the country, integrating the national team, and driving home the importance of what Indianness is all about. The movie was gripping and showed our national game hockey (what an irony!) in wonderful light. The Indian mantra in the movie, the national anthem, the tricolour and the feeling of INDIA, just left me with a pulsating patriotic feeling running through my veins. I just could not curtail my excitement, as anything that has got to do with the country leaves me transfixed with an absolutely positive attitude and well-being.
So, the bottom line is, Independent India is turning 60. The blogosphere, internet, media, television, newsprint and almost every source is pointing to this fact. In fact, the TIME magazine has come out with a special edition to commemorate the occasion. What do I feel about my country, having lived in a foreign land for two years, first as a student and then, as a working professional. The 90s have truly been a turning point for India, what with the facelift it received from brilliant economic reforms, ease of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), an attempt being made to bridge the gap between the government and the common man, creating innumerable employment opportunities for the educated individual, enabling him to experience a standard of living like never before and more importantly, creating the impetus to achieve a good GDP.
Top Indian technology companies formed a base starting the silicon valley in Bangalore, later spreading the roots to Hyderabad, Madras, Pune, Calcutta, Gurgaon and Noida, and now striking the second tier of cities - Mysore, Coimbatore, Trivandram and Hubli. The average pay package of a graduate has increased from a nominal range of Rs. 50000 - Rs. 80000 per annum to a starting package of Rs. 3,00,000 - Rs. 10,00,000 per annum. The former yearly package is not even sufficient enough to qualify as the present monthly salaray. The times have just changed. Every company abroad wants to set up a base in India, what with a great talent pool, and more importantly, at affordable rates. India is creating the big names - Narayanmurthy of Infosys, Azim Premji of Wipro, Ratan Tata of TATA, Ambanis of Reliance, Birlas, Lakshmi Mittal of Mittal Steel and others have forayed well to create a niche for themseleves in the global arena. It is surely a matter of pride.
We have always prided ourselves on equipping ourselves with value based education. The whole system is designed in such a way, that for a typical Indian middle class family, education tops the priority list. This is a great boon for developing India to create and nurture talent, allowing young minds to think outside the box, and provide a platform that would enable them to excel proficiently in any field of interest. India has in it to provide the right guidance in almost any field of study. That really augurs well for the future.
In terms of agriculture, India is more than self-sufficient. Gone are the times in the early fifties when India had to import tonnes of rice and sugar from Japan and China. The five year plans were established to set up a progressive economy with industrialization and agriculture topping the agenda. India holds geographical patents in terms of Basmati, a type of rice that is consumed throughout the world, famous for its fragrance and delicate flavour. It is also heartening to note the rise of exports as far as the textile industry is concerned. India has emerged as one of the world's largest exporter of cotton and silk garments. Mysore and Kancheepuram along with Benares have emerged as acclaimed territories for high quality silk sarees.
It is just not enough to write about what one feels about India in a blog. The list is obviously endless. But, more importantly, we need to delve on the other side of India. What is it that we are missing or what is it that's going wrong. The infrastructure in US inevitably leads me to compare the facilities we have back home. Water, electricity, roads, natural resources are just aplenty and good in other countries. There is a big chunk of the country living without the basic amenities and that is truly disheartening. The disparity in income is glaring among different sections of the society. The conditions of roads are a big mess in most parts of the country. It is not that roads here do not get damaged, but people are put in place almost immediately to set things right. We need to have a system in place to put things in order. Here, people tend to follow the rules perfectly on road. In India, it is almost taken for granted that the other person is going to break the rules. We somehow have to shed this attitude and imbibe within ourselves a more structured way of public living. Public toilets are a revelation here. How many of them use the public toilets in India? Most of us leave the place unusable within a few days of its inauguration. A glaring thing that is noticed back home is that, anything outside our homes is treated as garbage. We are happy as long as we keep our house clean, but anything beyond the house premises is not our concern. Communal tensions and petty fights and squabbles have to end. We should learn not to burn our surroundings once we lose a popular figure in the country. Our country is not about a few individuals. We should realize that and work with a collective effort for the betterment of the country.
I definitely do not want to harp on our negatives. But the point is I want to see our country grow in the right way. We need to set certain things in order. Every house has some flaws, and in a similar way does every country. There is no denying that we have a great system in place, and if we can rectify the flaws, we will be heading towards a highly progressive India. At the end of the day, that is what each and every Indian wants to see. We definitely can do it, and if we don't do it, who will do it? Each of us have a responsibility to fulfill and it would be great to see things shape up well.
There is no doubt that inspite of the tall order, there is no denying the love and passion each of us have towards our country. As I keep saying (in my earlier blogs),one has to get out of India to experience what India is all about. Emotions fly thick and fast in a foreign land, and the kind of happiness that a fellow Indian brings to your face is one of the most wonderful moments. We try to create a feeling of home away from home, with talks centering on how we can contribute towards the development of the country. The feeling is there uppermost in everybody's minds with each of us wanting to contribute whatever we can over a period of time. All of us are certainly heading towards a vibrant India. At the end of the day, one thing is clear, the kind of happiness that thoughts of India bring you is unmatched by anything else in the world. India is a complete package - family, values, festivals, togetherness, sense of belonging and system, and right now it just suffices to say that I am missing all these things.
Wishing you all a Happy 60th year of Indian Independence!!!