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.
Pic courtesy here.