Travelling from Paris to Aix-En-Provence (a city in south of France) in a TGV train is an amazing experience. 800 kms in 3 hours-Well o Well! Having a look at the French country side that accompanies you on this journey, or for that matter on any train journey in this beautiful country, brings a whole lot of positive energy. You can’t help but say-This is the place to be!
Coming to France is my first trip outside India and I think it is a country that just has so much that I wish we had in India. You step on to the roads and you will realise that there is not a single piece of waste lying outside. You try to cross a zebra crossing and you will realise the respect people give to people travelling on foot. Look at the light turning red and HALT! Ask anything, say anything and whatever the conversation be; it will always end with “Merci” or “Thank You” as we know it in English. Visit a museum and look at the way the masterpieces have been preserved.
The first thing one looks out for at traffic lights in India is the traffic police, so that you can break the rules at the first given opportunity. People travelling on foot live a nightmare when they just can’t cross the road as no one will stop the car/bike/bus/truck for them. Someone asks you something weird and your reactions vary from “Kya!” to “I am in a hurry” to “Pagal lagta hai” to “Idiot” etc etc. I am not saying everyone does this, but most do.
And I think, France is heaven and India is so far away.
But in the same train, looking at the same country side, I find myself listening to Hindi/Punjabi songs on my phone. Then I start to think on opposite lines. Is it possible that the problem is not with the nation but with our attitude towards our nation? What is it that we have that some of the so called modern countries don’t? My language, my music, my movies and a whole lot of other things will be lost if I ever settle outside India. This makes me introspect-This is something I just can’t have here
Step onto any street of Delhi or Mumbai at any point of the day and you will see a world of activity going on. You find so much energy in whatever we Indians do. The loud music, the high pitch of our speech etc can be taken as us being loud but I think it just shows us to be expressive and passionate. Ask an Indian mother, who is the son of her sister’s brother-in-law’s nephew (not the sister’s son ofcourse ) and in most probability she won’t take more than a second to answer. We love our relations and these relations are a chain that has no end. I don’t remember when was the last time I had food and someone didn’t take a bite of two from my plate. This is something unknown in this part of the world. Isn’t it amazing to share your food with friends and family, it just shows so much love and affection.
We have some of the most hard working and smart people in the world. An average Indian shop runs from 9 to 9 against 11 to 7 in France. As lovely as the Louvre might be, I can’t help but think-If we had not been stolen from umpteen times by people all across the world, we would still have all our relics and the resources to preserve them. If we had not been the victims of fate, we would still have been the “Golden Bird” and people would have had food to eat and the energy to take care of the surroundings. With 40% of the country not getting proper nourishment, a clean and crisp surrounding is a bit too much to ask as people have a lot more serious issues to worry about.
I am in no way trying to demean any other nation. Ofcourse there is a lot that is there to learn for us from the West. Every country, every society has quite a lot that it can teach the world. We Indians ourselves have started to think that we don’t have anything to share which is totally false. Let us not be critical, let us try to change!