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Friday, March 16, 2012

The International Indian

So a while back, I went to Bangkok (wink, wink..:))…

And besides the shopping, the splendor and the sleaze (J), one thing that struck me was the increasing number of Indians hitting the Thai land, which is increasing significantly over the years (yes, this is my 5th trip that side – yes, I think I have OBS – Obsessive Bangkok Syndrome! J) And going forward, I’m pretty sure that more Indians will be visiting Thai soil very soon.

Now an interesting incident happened at the airport, where I was waiting to get my visa on arrival.

So like I was saying, there were many people from many nations (n wow, the Russian babes were sooo hot!) and everyone was standing there maintaining a disciplined queue. Now enter this motley set of Indian guys dressed very shabbily in shorts, smelling of the free in-flight alcohol and talking loudly with each other. As they walked into the visa bay, they came up to near the middle of the queue and jumped the queue right in front of an American lady. The lady politely told them to maintain the queue but the guy shouted back to the lady in broken English, “This ees … origeenal line… You line, … olddd line” and all of them burst out laughing to their own joke and continued standing where they were. People from the back, irritated by their antics, started voicing their displeasure and one of our fat guys yelled back at them loudly. This shocked most people and the American lady politely let the bunch stand in front of her. Now once they were allowed to find a place in the queue, they looked victoriously to the people at the back of the queue and started singing some random Hindi songs and started clapping. This went on for a while as they made a total mockery of themselves. Finally when the officer at the counter called upon our guys, turned out that they did not carry the required documents and they wasted everybody’s time.

Now sit back, take a deep breath and think….

So what do you think happened that day due to these guys?

Well, me thinks that, that day, the flag of a great nation whose anthem we stand up to with pride, patriotism and passion fell down by a great deal in the eyes of the many people gathered at that bay. After all, nobody knew who they were and nobody will ever know who they are - but these guys will always be registered in everyone’s minds as “those Indians”. And thus, the uncivilized behavior of a handful of crude Indians tarnished a great nation in the minds of all the people gathered at that bay that day.

And the funny thing is this – we, as a nation, are pretty well cultured, are great hosts and have the aspects of civility and ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ pretty much ingrained in most of us; yet when we group up and hit foreign soils, we test their patience by indulging in such petty behavior. I’m quite sure that these gentlemen would behave with some sort of civility when in India with their own friends, family and strangers alike. What we fail to see is that we are our country’s biggest brand ambassadors in foreign lands and we’re actually letting down our country to the many foreign eyes there.

A small change I’d like to see is actually a very small one; but I’m pretty sure, it’ll make a huge, huge impact on our country at a global level. With the amount of progress that our country is making, we are becoming a nation of International Indians - there are a lot of us Indians travelling abroad on business/pleasure/both. I can bet that all the readers of this post have travelled /will travel soon internationally. And like I said, in foreign soils, we are our country’s biggest brand ambassadors and whatever we do there, our actions, our deeds, are a reflection on our country. I wish we could all change the way we behave on foreign lands and behave the way we know how to behave. Why do we give a holiday to the way we treat other people, when we actually are known as great hosts back home, by the world?

Just to make this as clichéd as possible, I’d like to end this piece with a “Jai Hind” or a “Mera Bharat Mahaan”….

but seriously, think about it - do we really, really even mean it when we say it?

If we do, well, don’t you think it’s up to us to make our India proud?

Let’s start doing something bout it, blogdosts.

Don't you think???


This is an entry for the Stay Free - Time to Change contest.

Do Follow my blog, Like it and Vote for me...


Pic courtesy here.


  1. Amen to that! But.. we have civility ingrained in us?? That happens only when there's an authority figure around, otherwise it's a free-for-all! I mean, dont we boast that we jumped a light to get somewhere in time, or tricked a shopkeeper into taking less money? I just wish there was a "foreign travel license", requiring u to take a test in basic manners & courtesies ;)

    1. Hey Revacious, welcum to ma blog.. :)

      Actually, u r right, u knw.. I guess we do tend to behave in the presence of authority.. n I must say tht ur view totally applies to the Bangalore traffic out here :)

      Beautiful idea, Revacious.. simply superb one - I second u on that - a "foreign travel license" - now thts a great idea!

      Do drop by more often Revacious.. nice to hv ur views too, Revacious!!! :)

  2. Offcourse you have said it all..we are the brand ambassadors of our nation and we represent our country when we go out...we cant misbehave or do something which tarnishes ours and our nations image..disappointing..well said..loved this..

    1. Hey TSW, thnx fr droppin by n fr ur comment.. glad that u think so too :)

      I felt a lil bad tht day whn this incident happened right in front of me as they were from my own country n yet.. :)

      Glad tht u dropped by TSW, do drop by more often :)

  3. I haven't read the post yet, but brother.. you wrote for the 'Stay Free' contest? and what will you do when you win the contest and they give you a lifetime supply of pads dude? :)

    1. Read the post - The way we behave is pretty logical from your post itself brother. We have already set an example of being good hosts, now by acting funny in foreign lands, we are testing their capacity to be the good host to us. Its their time to pay back our hospitality now..

    2. for V-Dada B.C. ..

      interesting point.. didn't think of that yet.. :D

      for V-Dada A.D. ..

      Agree with u man... we're world renown for our welcoming ways n the 'Athitee Devo Bhava', but alas....

      for V-Dada..

      dude, really like the quality of ur writing man.. loved ur last post on Sasha.. loved the way u captured the feelings associated with a heart break n whn somebody else dates one's girl.. really beautiful n deep man.. :)

      Keep droppin by man n keep comin up wid such awesum posts too :)

  4. yikes, Raj. that's very embarassing. i've seen that sort before. the problem with indians are they are too proud (wherever they are). sometimes, it makes us better people if we let a little bit of humility into us.

    maybe its a good thing - everywhere i've been to, no one guesses i'm malaysian or indian for that matter ( although i'm all very malaysian). also maybe because i never think that i'm a of a particular race and act that part.

    1. Hey Jaya, ya.... actually, I was feelin pretty embarrassed myself in the queue cos everyone cud tell I was Indian n everyone wudda just clubbed me with the same ethic as these guys too... :)

      Ya Jaya, agree with u on that one - think we Indians r too proud.. a lil bit of humility n humor can go a long way in the way ppl will perceive not just us, but also our country... wish we cud hv a lil bit of tht in us :)

      thx fr droppin by Jaya.. pretty insightful views u gave us here.. nice conversation this Jaya :)

  5. Hi,

    Hope everyone realise this.
    However, we behave well when authority is around, but only in other countries.
    In our country we see that even authority has no control. Everyone breaks the law in their own sweet measure, some , a lot, and many lesser extent.

    Apna desh, we will do what we want.

    1. Welcome to my blog, Vetrimagal!!!

      I hear u, Vetrimagal.. I guess we could do a lot with that thing called discipline.. wonder why its not too well ingrained us.. I mean, we are aware of how to behave; its just that we choose to exhibit best behavior only when we feel like it, like in front of authority..

      I think the gov cud take initiative - I remember reading that when the Singapore gov found that the birth rate of the country is not as great as it should be, the gov got involved n runs dating centers n events fr the citizens.. I guess some proactive measure taken at a higher level can go a long way to build awareness on this level.. I mean, we are spending money on initiatives like the "Incredible India" campaign so why not?

      Great to have u here, Vetrimagal.. hope to see more from u.. do drop by more often, Vetrimagal :)

  6. So yes we mallus r very attached to the THIGH sorry THAI land...Well how can we miss the TIFFANY SHOW :P
    And the whole bar and transvestite and cheap massage parlour things? :D Also Pattaya islands ..drooooooooooooool!
    well I just cant get enuff of the cheap shopping too! The bag I bought an year bag still luks new!
    well about the being cheap part, when I went thr, these group of Indians where boozing and throwing the empty bottles on the sand while the poor cleaners asked them not to. This led to a huge fight and them later being taken away from the spot. I was so humiliated to even think that we are from the same country!

    1. Hey Red, glad 2 see u here yaar... been a long while, eh? Hope all is well wid u.. :)

      Oh yap, the Tiffany show is known as the Alcazar show in Pattaya.. so definitely went there.. was awesum.. after he show, I cudnt believe tht all those hot women were actually guys!! :D ... Oh ya, the shoppin roxx!! I bought some "Gucci" bags fr my sis n since she doesn't read my blog, I'm gonna tell her it costs a bomb n tht she shud b very careful wid it :D

      I can relate to u on the embarassin bit - I went thru the same when I was in the queue.. wish we cud learn to maybe, behave.. :)

      Thnx fr droppin by Red.. always nice to hv u around.. do drop by more often :)

  7. "I’m quite sure that these gentlemen would behave with some sort of civility when in India with their own friends, family and strangers alike."
    I agree with everything you said except this... for two reasons...

    The first is its not logical... humans being creatures of habit continue to exhibit that habit unless they make a determined effort to change (incentive to change coming from within or without). So logically it follows that these guys are accustomed to jumping the line back at home too that is why they have no qualms of doing this abroad.

    The second reason is that in spite of being great proponents of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ - treating the guest who comes to your home like God himself, in India; people do not follow the same principle for other things in their daily life (probably out of ignorance of the fact that it is not just the one situation that this principle has to be applied but to the whole sphere of one's daily life). A glorious exception to this jumping the line rule can be seen in God's own country (Kerala) where the only place a dignified line is seen without any enforcement is at the booze shop!!

    Oh I have typed a lot already, let me go lie down for a bit ;)since I am just recovering from a whole day and night of partying on St Patrick's day!!(Trust me dude I have not seen so many Firangs in my life as I did yesterday!! They were all out on the streets wearing green and partying until the wee hours!)

    Since I love cliche's just like you my dear I'd also like to end with a quote from a movie "Sau me se assi baimaan phir bhi mera Bharat mahan" (Out of 100, 80 have no integrity but still my India is Great!)

    1. Bro, wow.. what a comment.. u might just be the winner of biggest-comment-on-this-blog-award... takin a bow.. :)

      Welcum to my blog, Doc.. glad to hv u here :) Wow, that's some comment n I agree with u wholeheartedly with bot ur points.. like Revacious mentioned above, I guess we maintain civility mostly(or only) in the presence of authority.. n I totally agree that we just take our normal habits that we let ourselves to get used to, to foreign lands :)

      hahaha.. u said it - we maintain queues n exhibit model behavior in all civility n discipline only at booze shops..

      Dude, u're rockin der man.. glad tht hvn fun wid the firangs bro... n glad tht u typed so much man.. must say, quite eloquent, man.. now I knw why a popular 7th std English teacher always had a thing fr u ;)

      N cliche fr cliche's sake, "would be nice to see more of u here man...".. but really, really :)

      Thnx fr comin over n commentin, doc.. Do drop by more often man .. some great points u brought up here :)

  8. yes i see these kind of incidents off-late here in USA too.. its pretty shameful.. good entry for contest..

    1. Hi Varsha, welome to my blog!!! Glad that u dropped by :)

      Ah yes, its a lil shameful don't u think? And more so, when the people involved are pretty educated and worldly wise.. n the thing is I'm pretty sure they know how to behave well but just choose to be so.. :)

      Thnx fr ur kind words Varsha.. pls do drop by more often.. nice to hv u around here :)

  9. firstly congo's on bangkok trip, One can find nuts everywhere, look for one and you get in dozens. They suffer their own destiny. Nice pointer.

    1. I agree with you Pramodji.. there is never a shortage of nuts

      Thnx for dropping by Pramodji.. do drop by more often :)

  10. They too, pay a price by acting crass and disgusting. Nobody wants them around - surely not a nice feeling to live with, however much they try to brazen it out.

    1. Hey KayEm, welcome to my blog!! Glad to see u here.

      Yes, I do hope that they do pay the price for their misbehavior .. truly its difficult to digest that we're also from the same country as them....

      Glad u dropped by, KayEm.. do drop by more often :)