Tuesday, October 02, 2007

To the country I Love

This is my first non cricket article.This article has been long time pending as I wanted to write this since I came back from my visit to India in February. I came to US to do my masters in 2003 and did not go back to India till the end of 2006. When I visited India in December of 2006, I was totally surprised with what I saw there. There was a huge cultural change since I left the country for studies in 2003. For the first time, I felt like an outsider in my own country. The outlook of the people had changed, the use of technology was enormous and the people were moving towards the mechanical life as we see here in America.

Before my visit to India last year I was hoping to meet my friends and relatives after four long years. When I eventually reached there the situation was completely different, No one had much time for me and I actually struggled to meet most of them. This is due to no fault of theirs though as all of them were busy with their hectic schedules. The other noticeable change I observed was the use of mobile phones in India. I have never seen mobile phones put to so much use anywhere as it is done in India. People keep receiving messages from their friends or just some forwarded jokes like every other minute. I was just fascinated by the same.

There are lots of new food chains, similar to what we have in the US and the spending limit of people in city has increased enormously. Couple of times when I was in some stores I was stunned with the ease with which people in India pay bills in thousands of rupees. This is obviously a good sign as it shows that the standard of living at least of the people living in the cities has increased. It was also great to see those huge malls and theaters similar to the ones in the US, where people can come in to watch movies, have food and also do some shopping all under the same roof. Even though the traffic still remained the same or to be frank had increased a little bit with more vehicles on the road and most of the times out of control. The traffic in Bangalore and Hyderabad were the worst and Chennai was just better in comparison.

My observations were only based on the cities I had visited during my stay in India and to be frank I liked what I saw in terms of infrastructure and the different mind set of the people. Even though there has been lots of changes in the last few years (mostly for the good), I still don’t know whether this can be termed as the overall growth of the country in itself. There were lots of things which still remained the same, such as kids running out of their huts when a train passes by. There are lots of people just in Chennai, who have to vacate their huts or houses if there is a cyclone. Kids in India still don’t have their basic necessities. When I was traveling to a temple via train, I was very disturbed to see so many kids who don’t even have proper clothes to wear, who can’t go to school and who don’t get proper food to eat. When I see such things it makes me respect my parents more as it’s because of them I am in a good situation.

I had a great childhood, great education, traveled abroad for studies and currently by god’s grace in a decent job. This is a great gift when you consider there are so many kids in India who don’t even have the basic necessities in life. Most of them have to work to even have some food everyday. When I was looking at these kids during my visit, I just told myself that I need to do something which will bring some change in the life of at least one of them. I told myself that I am lucky to be in this situation and it would be great if I can do something to bring a difference in someone’s life. I came back to US and the first thing I did was to find a trustworthy organization and decided to sponsor a kid for education, food and all other basic necessities. This is my first step towards giving something back to a country which has given me so much. We know that we cannot change the politicians or the government in India but what we can do is to make sure that we contribute in whatever way we can to make life better for these kids.