Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Love all.. Part 2..

How would the world be if we all were similar. Copies of each other! If it was monochrome - no colors, just black and white - ohh does that make it bi-chrome or is it still monochrome? Nevertheless, if it was not as colorful as it is. Isn't this colorful world beautiful - with all the shades and varieties?

Why then don't we understand that having differences or being different is a good thing?

It is a fundamental thing which adds flavor to life. It's the pinch of salt which makes us appreciate the beauty err should it be taste :)

Well, we all are born different. And most of the times there are many 'external' factors which 'condition' us and makes us more different - many such factors - family, upbringing, friends, neighbourhood, town, region, country, education, religion, thoughts, beliefs, experiences, history, etc. etc.

And over a period of time this 'conditioning' evolves into a "culture". Of course, there will always be different cultures evolving all around the world, which is good - isn't it? What is not good - is appreciating one and disrespecting other - more specifically telling ours is good and yours is not (related post) - or considering one's own culture inferior to others (another related post) - or such comparisons.

Each culture has its own roots and its own following. It's not just improper to call names, but seems foolish to me. Because you cannot prove that such and such a thing is good or bad in a given culture. Or is better or worse than some other similar practice.

All the above words started to precipitate when I read this wonderful blog about 'greeting with a kiss' culture. What did upset me were the responses the write-up generated! And to find that a simple blog, sharing very candid experiences evoked such strong sentiments! When it shouldn't be even discussed to such length - it's not at all a 'debatable' subject!

Allow me to share my personal experiences about this way of greeting others.

I've spent good amount of my childhood in middle-east. And people do plant a peck when they greet close associates, friends, relatives, etc. But it's never across a member of other gender. Men greet other men and women greet other women in this way.

Now, to the other end of spectrum, France - I had the pleasure of visiting this wonderful country recently. Here, it's completely opposite! It's always between opposite genders, I believe.

In India, we don't kiss very often but do hug all the time. Kissing is 'reserved' for very few special occasions - it's not a form of everyday greeting but a way of showing feelings at say a wedding or bidding good-bye to someone close or something similar!

Now there are bound to be 'incidents' when a person from different culture may land up in an 'embarrassing' situation!

There have been few 'controversies' in past (created and publicized by media of course). Most famous (or infamous!) one is Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty - now I would definitely call this one as a publicity stunt! Why? Both are from entertainment industry. The program at which this incident happened was a charity event which could certainly use some publicity! It did generate a lot of buzz over a seemingly 'innocent and dramatic act'. So what happened after that? Nothing, everyone went back to their own businesses after some time. The people in question did face some criticism but that's a part of their day-to-day life!

Another old one. And to me this one was a genuine mix-up! This one also created a buzz when it happened and many criticized the then MP Shabana Azmi and the visiting President Nelson Mandela. Agreed at that point of time India was more conservative than it is today, so people were naturally offended!

But today's India is more globalized and liberal. We are truly offended when people call us a land of snake charmers and mystic yoga! Isn't it? Why then don't we demonstrate the maturity of accepting the differences that other cultures may have? Nobody is asking you to adopt them or change your ways - but the least you can do is accommodate a person who is alien to your culture and is wanting to study it, learn it, appreciate it? Isn't it OUR CULTURE that we treat our 'guests' as equals of 'gods' (atithi devo bhava)??

Colors of Life


  1. Hi Abu, amazing article ... I'm happy to have sparked the fire on this one :-) Will share it on my Facebook page today so let's see how many new visitors you receive. Take care, angela

  2. Glad you 'liked' my thoughts Angela!