Article by Shilpa Nadkarni
As a child, I had heard of several fantasized Videshi (foreign) stories.
I belong to an era where educating a girl child majorly meant, she finally finds a qualified groom, settled abroad and educating a boy meant he goes for higher education abroad and settles there. During those days the ultimate goals for girls were to get married to guy who is settled abroad and for boys was finding a good job abroad and settle there.
During those days abroad meant settling in developed nation on the globe. The most favoured nation was USA – United State of America. Settling abroad was a trend then.
According to my near and dear ones, I was a pretty good looking girl (which was another valid factor counted for getting married), with a decent qualification to find a quick match for myself and settle abroad. But I had some different thoughts about how I should spend my life. I never wanted to settle abroad. I always wanted to be independent girl, not dependent on my husband – I am not saying that my husband won’t take care of me but there is nothing wrong in being independent. I always wanted to settle in my own country independently. I never wanted to be educated for the sake of finding a life partner. Now, this kind of thought process was completely out of the box then and extremely difficult for my relatives to take in.
Either my roots were very strong or my thoughts of being independent did not allow me to fly out of the home country. I wanted to get married to guy who would be like me, who would love to stay in India, we may not be well settled, may not have luxurious life, but we would make a happy life, staying close to our families, our parents. I got bashed several times for having these kind of stupid thoughts then. It was only my immediate family- my parents and my brother who understood me and stood by me.
I was often brainwashed by my relatives about how beautiful USA was, life is so easy there, you could get the best of everything desirable one could have and so on but I always felt getting married and flying to USA would be like staying in a Sone ka pinjara (a golden cage).
Today, during the lockdown, after so many years, I am once again convinced that what I felt then was absolutely right, I am happy for not being in SONE KA PINJARA. Now, when I hear our PM and Presidents/ Head of States of other developed nations, I realize there is such a huge cultural difference between India and the West. All these years, I kept hearing that life is not valued in India whereas there is so much value for life in USA. During such trying times, I have realized in India Senior citizens are not a liability – Our Prime Minister’s first sentence in the speech was to safeguard senior citizens of our nation; whereas in developed countries like USA & UK senior citizens are liabilities, it doesn’t matter even if they die due to Corona – it is reducing their Government’s burden.
India chose Life of its citizens against the drooping economy whereas USA chose the economy over its people’s life. The basic difference in these two huge nations is INDIA chose LIFE and USA chose ECONOMY.
Here in India, people might be slogging and working in worst conditions as compared to developed nations, might be having stressful life, but they do not complaint, they face it. The best part of it is our immunities both – Mental and Physical, have developed to such an extent that we are capable of handling tough situations like the one we all are going through. On the other hand, people from USA, Europe are used to such an easy going life that they find it difficult to survive and to get through these tough times.
Today, as a result the whole world is admiring us INDIANS, we may have to bear with the stricter norms of lockdown with only essentials being available, no fancy things available unlike other nations but we have our moral values intact, we are resilient by nature, and the results are showing it – with a population of 1.37 billion, around 37000 Corona cases of which more than 10000+ have recovered…We can make it INDIA, we are creating HISTORY, we have the best and the most proactive government of all the times. All we need to do is co-operate and follow the government directives, continue being patient and calm and we shall WIN soon against the Corona War.
Stay home, stay safe.
A PROUD RESIDENT INDIAN