Yesterday, I got a call from an ex-student who is currently in Canada and had trained with me for IELTS (International English Language Testing System) some four years back (I was taking the IELTS then to raise funds for my NGO). Although I might have trained people for international exams, my love for my country has been rigid and consistent. This guy told me a lot about all his experiences and how he came across different and newer things there.
Somehow the topic shifted to zucchini (the American sister of sponge gourd – our own turai). And he said, “Ma’am, you may not know for it is not found in India.”, and started explaining. I did not respond to him and hung up with an excuse soon after. I remember back in 1999 or 2000, zucchini had started spreading in India, or at least had come to our notice, and the vegetable stores by Safal had started selling exotic vegetables and fruits like dragon fruit, kiwi, zucchini, purple cauliflower etc. My father, being very fond of experimenting, started bringing these vegetables for cooking, and ever since, they became a part of our very eating habits. Though within limited preferences, due to already developed tastes, they were brought and imposed for their nutritional value and I am sure the case was the same for all the families during that time.
Now the point here is, it is amazing to explore opportunities abroad, go settle there for life and do whatever with your life because it’s your life, but it does not mean that you start considering India to be a place of “slumdogs”. We may be slower than other countries when it comes to development, but that is because we are huge in number, and carrying the whole thing without letting it break (look at Russians and British). This is something that needs time and patience, and above all, understanding.
It is not about zucchini, it is about the way you treat those who choose to live in this country and explore their lives here itself. It is about realising that we discovered the zero, we provided education, vegetables, fruits, and music to the world. When Vasco da Gama came to India, the biggest ship of the world was owned by a Gujrati. The Kohinoor diamond in the Queen Elizabeth’s crown is from India. We lagged because we were kind and innocent and above all, we lacked trust in each other due to which gaps could be filled by evil intentions.
As far as the notion, that Indians do not know much, is concerned, let me remind you that the whole world comes to India to find peace, spirituality, Ayurveda (which can heal what even allopathy cannot), homoeopathy, greenery and a lot more. Our literature is one of the strongest. Our languages are rated among the most commonly spoken ones. Our culture is intriguing to the rest of the world. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) is the best in the world. NASA has more Indian scientists than India.
It is high time we, the stupid people of India, start respecting our country whether we live in it or not and it’s high time we stop defaming ourselves in front of the world, just because we think it makes us look cooler, bolder or greater or any one of them. Because it doesn’t.
Look around and you will find people who left their countries and settled in India forever. Trust your beings, trust your country and encourage your countrymen.
Featured Image for representative purpose only.