Having been brought up in three different cultures, the one that’s unquestionably possessed me is the one connected to my roots: Indian. Throwing caution and comfort into the British wind, I moved to India recently to work as an architect. While my daily frustrations and struggles taunt me to escape back to the cosiness of a first world country, I get reminded that just like fine wine and Kerala’s mouth-watering mangoes in brine, Incredible India tastes much better with time. Since I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve begun to become a part of the place and society. You know that you’ve developed a love for a country when its politics, its daily civic life, become something that’s exciting and meaningful to you.
2013 was a thrilling year for India. There were remarkable moments sprinkled throughout the months and this includes the electrifying election! The AAP received outstanding support from hundreds of thousands of people. In fact what I found fascinating was that people living abroad – some who have left India before the partition – had flown in to show their support. And what a win! After 15 years of Congress control in India’s capital, the Common Man Party has won after being formed just one year ago (November 2012). Phenomenal. What is important to note is that this is not just politics – it is the mindset of people. It is the mentality of Indians from all ages who are playing a role to drastically change the country… Change for the better with more frenzy than ever.
Gone are the days when India is viewed as a third world country. There was once a time when people in bulk would go abroad to seek ‘The American Dream’. Now, I’ve found more people reluctant to leave even if they have the opportunity. I once asked my colleague would she go abroad for work if she had the chance? Her response was: ‘It may sound old-fashioned, but as long as my parents are alive, I’d like to stay in India. It is the least I can do.’ It blew my mind; such generosity of spirit, such thoughtfulness for one’s parents is something I have not come across in a long, long time. Having lived in three different countries before the age of twenty-five, it was only in my fourth destination that I was exposed to this refreshing viewpoint.
India is evolving, and not just in one aspect; it is evolving kaleidoscopically – from female empowerment (the Nirbahaya case, the Delhi law intern case), to economically (Euro Zone predicted to decrease while India predicted to grow), to environmental (solar powered jails in Kerala), not to mention the political scene buzzing with a greater desperation for anti-corruption than seen before. Several significant stories have taken the news world by a storm last year and many times there is a link to India – hopefully more positive than negative. Nelson Mandela’s death reminded us that he was inspired by Gandhian ideals; TCS has taken over the sponsorship of the NYC marathon; Tesco is going to be the first supermarket investment in India; Facebook has bought yet another Indian start-up, an Indian painting has been sold for 23.7 crores (US$ 3.7 million) – need I go on? But, one of the most interesting cases is the current spat between US and India. With the US indicting one of India’s diplomats, in a tit-for-tat send-off, America’s diplomat in India has also been expelled. India has proven that when provoked She will not cower away.
It is being increasingly agreed that one can lead a comfortable life in India. I am not talking about the poverty or disease ridden. I am discussing the average, middle-class earning family who receive help in general for cooking, cleaning, other domestic chores and even help for driving. This is virtually unheard of in the West, unless you belong to the Royal family or you are the typical ostentatious celebrity.
Yes, India is chaotic and frustrating and very flawed, but the potential in it to succeed is far greater than its chances of failure. Today, foreigners come to India for a better life – be it spiritual, mental or physical. With our country predicted to be a superpower by 2030, it is now time to lay the red carpet for the Indian Dream.