Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Love and Family... #MoreIndianThanYouThink


'Distance makes the heart grow fonder,' it is a very valid saying. Same happened with me when I left India and moved to Johannesburg for two years assignment. 
I never realized how much I loved my country until I stepped outside. I never cherished it before but within a few days I started missing everything about India - food, culture and even the polluted smells, funny isn't it.

Yes I was missing India but I was not grateful to be an Indian, not until one day. And that day changed my perspective totally.

The team I worked with had ten members. Eight were South Africans, one was Zimbabwean and one Indian i.e. Me. We were sitting at a lunch table when suddenly the topic of relationships came into discussion. Everybody started discussing about their partners and family. 
One of the guys in my team spoke, 'my wife and I treat each other every Saturday. She treats one weekend I treat next. She earns more than me so every time it's her turn to pay I force her to go to some fancy place, but on my turn we go to some burger joint' everyone laughed loudly but I was too stunned to laugh. 'What kind of marriage is this?' I wondered but I ignored.
Next girl narrated a story about how she refused to pay for her mother's bill at a shop... her mother forgot her wallet and that girl refused to pay saying - 'I know you wont pay me back'. Most people sympathized with her saying how mothers try to rip them off but I couldn't understand. I asked her what was the amount she said 20 Rand i.e. Rs. 100... Her words shook me to core. What kind of kids are these, her mother paid for everything till she was old enough to earn and she can't even pay a minuscule amount... Wow!
It was getting really hard for me to sit but I had to... it was my team and I was already the odd-one-out person there. Seeing my reaction they turned their focus on me.

'You are married?' a girl asked.
'Yes,' I replied with a smile.
'How much did you sign prenup for?' I was stunned by the question alone.
'What do you mean?'
'You must have signed a prenup, right?' another guy asked.
'Of course not!' I felt stung by the question.
'How do you divide all the money?'
'We both earn and spend one person's salary. This way we control our expenses and save.' I replied proudly.
'I hope you are spending his salary. You won't want him running away with your money,' the first guy laughed.
'It is not his money or my money, it is OUR money' I explained lightly, hoping the topic is dismissed soon.
'I would never marry without a prenup. What if he bleeds me dry and dumps me,' a girl panicked.
I wanted to ignore the comments but the last statement just flipped me, 'we don't marry in India in anticipation of getting a DIVORCE. We marry one person, we love only one person and spend eternity with that one person. I love my husband and he loves me. That is all we need.' I replied a little heated. I was angry, how dare they say all this rubbish about my marriage. If they are not loyal its their problem.
Of course I left after this and my Zimbabwean friend (my only friend there) followed me. He had grown up in South Africa and knew this part of world. However I, was an outsider. He explained how Indians and Zimbabweans are so different and loyal to their partners. He also explained how our values mattered to us, unlike others.

And it was in that moment I was glad to be an Indian. It was in that moment I realized the love I held for my family and importance it held for me. It was in that moment I realized I was more Indian than I ever thought to be. And how much I love India and am grateful to my beloved nation and its vital traditions. One might say that this didn't help me succeed, but if we look around the globe, being Indian makes more marriages and lives a success than anywhere else in the world.

And just like I understood it back then, Lufthansa is helping understand the world, how India is growing and having global influence through its wonderful TV commercial. #MoreIndianThanYouThink

Love and Cheers

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