Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Insecure India

Last week i had been to different parts of India, central as well as north ( Mumbai and Delhi). I had been there before but this time I went alone and when I landed in Mumbai time was 3 am. I decided to stay in the airport till 6 am and then move into the city. But the exit path from the aircraft directly led to the corridor outside airport which left me in a daze.

I stayed there till 4 am and then decided to move into the city. I had to catch my cab to pune at 6. So how to kill 2 hours???? I decided to go by public transport to chembur form where I had to take a cab ( a grave mistake???) I went to a coffee vendor and asked about the connectivity. As expected I dint get a reply which is quite common in India. We boast of a supreme culture and a dandy hospitality but the reality can be felt in situations like this. I will deal this later as this requires a separate post. I bought a cup of coffee and then enquired about the same and this time I got a reply.

But the reply was nothing but "the place is too far and you dont have any connectivity from here. Better take a Taxi". The Taxiwala owes him a lot and I believe he will settle his debts regularly to people outside the airport for their testimonial on him. I asked th taxi driver and the amount was a eminent 3 digit number. My face turned red with rage. I hustled in the corridor enquiring different people but it was a futile effort. Then a sense of insecurity started creeping inside me. I am an Indian who could speak hindi and if my situation in this country is appalling what will foreign nationals do in this country?

Later I realised the fact that south Indians are akin to foreign nationals for the north and vice- versa. India as a whole is not a country but a continent with different cultures and languages. Wherever I go there is an argument on chennai vs Mumbai, South Indian reticent culture vs North Indian's bindaas attitude. If we go to a place where the language is different you feel so insecure that you think you are in Pakistan. We never get a warm welcome and people around us try to cash in on our ignorance. Is it because India is poor? Is it because of the inherent greedy nature of Indians? I am yet to find a plausible answer for this question. I hope i will find an answer for this and I will feel completely secure in Patna airport at least 20 years from now.


Naga said...

unake ipdi na, just think of mortal souls like me who are not comfortable in hindi..

Venkat said...

I have been to almost all parts of India. I have had terrible experience, thanks to my ignorance in Hindi.

But Karthik, I liked the way you have put the content, especially "South Indian reticent culture vs North Indian's bindaas attitude". Well said man.. :)

Manivannan said...

The beauty of the country is when we go to a new state it feels like a completely new country. And the curse is its beauty, the indifference for other states person. I wonder whether this cultural diversity is good or bad. I personally feel that it is very bad as we lack a uniting factor.

Rather than empathizing with foreigners, as naga said imagine the fate of poor souls like us who dunno hindi.. I at times feel this as a big barrier in my work place also.We are at times a stranger in our country.

Vignesh said...

da i din know u had a blog... just now discovered.. and its great to have ppl around..

N as u had said i felt the same whn i came to banglore...last month.whn banglore looks and feels so alien to me... forbid the north... actually we should have been 22 independent countries than one single nation...we say we are united in diversity but we cling more to the diversity part than the unity part... some one decided that this is one nation and so we abide by it, if it was pronounced 24 nations na we would abide by that too cos the only connecting factor is the brand name called INDIA...nothing more(also the so called culture)

umeshkarthy said...

Here is my experience in my first visit to Mumbai...

I got down at Mumbai CSI Airport at around 9PM and wanted to go to Powai, I had no idea where this place was and hence took a taxi. A police wala there was the one who hired me the taxi. I sat in it and while on the way, i asked the driver.. "How far is it?" he replied "18-19 Kms". I had a map in my hand saying it is max 9Kms. I remained silent.

I reached the place i wanted to get down and took me sometime talking to people to find out if it was the right place i had reached.

when i was done discovering the place, i asked the driver.. "How much?" He said " Rs 260". I queried if he was joking and said it wouldnt have been 8Kms even and asked him the correct amount. Conversation grew into a kind of a fight (i was pretty lit up and fluent in my Hindi abuses), finally with some student support i ended up paying the correct 100Rs amount.

WTF... Thiefs.