In the last few years, we have explored a lot of International destinations on our travels. We have traveled extensively across Europe, Middle East, Turkey, Maldives and New Zealand. With the changing destinations, there was a lot to be done differently- paper work, planning, budgeting, packing and exploring too. However, what stayed a constant throughout was who we were and where we came from.
Everywhere we traveled, we traveled with the Indian culture across the globe. We traveled as Indians across the globe.
I for Indian
The strongest sentiments of patriotism arise when you’re away from your homeland, recalling every bit of what life may be back at home.
In our day-to-day lives, it may not matter to us who we are and where do we come from. Because we’re so absorbed in our daily struggles.
But when we travel abroad, through the good, bad, similarities and the differences, we are reminded that we are Indians first. And that is our primary identity to the world.
Whether it is the paper work, the liberties, the generalization and stereotyping, our identity as Indian citizens is above and beyond everything else.
On a regular basis, we may have a lot to complaint about or be dissatisfied with. When it comes to travel, the situation tends to be similar. Especially, with the power of the passport, visa, paperwork, discounts and discrimination that we have to face through the process. We also often tend to compare the standard of living and infrastructure while traveling. Despite all the discrepancies, it is important to remember that we are the ambassadors of our culture. We are the ambassadors of India on the global stage. Even if it is to about a dozen odd people.
India and Western Media
Much of India’s reputation is based on the perspectives showcased in media. For decades now, India has been showcased as the land of poor, snake charmers, non-English speaking people. A lot of these perspectives are biased, poorly formed and distorted views on reality. Unfortunately, we are still carrying the weight of this biased portrayal by the Western Media.
Many stereotypes that we face on the way are an outcome of this false perspective forced in the minds of people. As representatives of our country, we have the opportunity to bust these myths and unravel the real picture to the world. It doesn’t have to be aggressive, just well informed and confident.
Representatives of India and Indian Culture
As representatives of India and the Indian Culture, here’s how we can make the most of our interactions with foreigners while traveling.
Taking Pride In Indian Culture
First and foremost, being informed about the Indian culture and its roots elevates your understanding differently. Know your culture, focus on the positives, take pride in it.
Who is your Prime Minister? What does the government aim to accomplish? How are they dealing with serious problems- disasters, diseases, poverty, illiteracy…? Not a lot, but having knowledge of the current affairs of your country (and the world) helps in striking rational conversations.
A little art hurt no man! Knowledge of art, culture, music and movies is always helpful in connecting with people and drawing historic parallels.
Here’s a reality check- No country is perfect! As much as we love to believe that the grass is greener on the other side, what misses our eye are the struggles of the locals and the issues that they go through on a regular basis, much like us.
I still remember getting back from one of our favorite trips being so impressed by the management of everything in the country. A few days later, I had the opportunity to interact with a blogger from the same country. I told her how we loved our experience and thought highly of her country. She only had one thing to say, “Things are not as glossy as you think they are. We have our own struggles which can only be realized when you have to make your base here, and struggle with the failures of the system.” That truly felt like an eye opener. Not just for that particular country, but every other country that we look at so highly.
And therefore, it is important to be aware not just of the flaws but the wins and the victories of your country. To be able to educate and celebrate this rich and diverse culture that we represent.
Do’s & Don’ts
- Don’t criticize about the failures and problems in your country
- Be well informed and help people bust myths about India
- Be punctual
- Follow the rules- safety, hygiene, discipline
- Be respectful towards the local culture
- Be respectful to the hospitality staff
- Don’t be loud or intrusive
Common Myths That You Can Bust
- India is unsafe for travelers- especially women
- Indians cannot speak English
- Indians live in slums
You’re not expected to fight a war at the border. Just make it a point to represent your country with pride when you travel. Let people know of the greatness and the diversity of your culture. Share your food- snacks is you’re carrying. Wear a saree abroad. Flaunt your culture with pride. Impress them with your knowledge and your rationale. You don’t have to clean the image. You just have to showcase the best side of your culture and conditioning. As Indians, we have so much of it to share.
This post was written as a part of #BlogchatterA2Z Campaign.