Thursday, February 07, 2013

Jai Ho, Ohio!



We had a Rotary GSE team from Ohio, USA visiting Bidar on Sankranti this year.

This is the welcome speech I made

Dear Friends,
Welcome to India

Around 20 years ago, Michael Jackson performed in Mumbai in India. He
left a message on his hotel room mirror. ``Love You, Idia’’. He had
missed the N in India. That was a spelling mistake to remember.
We return the love and forgive him unconditionally. After all, India
is not a country. It is an idea. And an Idea whose time has come.

Here is why.

People
Some years ago, senior Rotarians visited India and wanted to travel by
train. They went to the railway station in Chennai, to board a train.
Surprised at the huge crowds, they asked the host. Where are they all
going? Is it an emergency or a festival. The host said. It is neither.
We just happen to have so many people. Just get used to it.
There are 1.2 billion people in India. USA has over 300 million
people. By area, India is three times smaller than USA. India’s
population is three times that of the USA. This does not mean we are a
cramped nation. All this only means that we are large hearted.
Let us see what else you need to get used to.

Traffic
I am sure you have been shell shocked by the traffic. Visitors find it
chaotic and disgusting. However, friends of India find it funny. Here
is how senior journalist Mark Tully, poetically describes it. `Indian
democracy is like its traffic. Both are chaotic. But both are
moving.’’

Cows on roads
A celebrity tennis player once refused to play in India saying there
are cows on the road, he said. ``And people stop their vehicles to
touch their tail’’. Yes. That is true because a lot of people consider
the cow as a holy animal. You need to get used to it.

Stares
A white man attracts attention. A white man with a camera attracts
more attention. A white woman attracts double the attention. They are
not making fun of you. They look at you because you are a rare sight.
They also look at you with genuine interest. They are curious as to
what attracted you here. So get used to stares and unprovoked smiles
or even loud laughter.

Geeks
Another thing you should get used to is geeks.
You will be surprised to find very young people who can fix things
like your computer and camera in every house. Most men you meet are
intelligent engineers or doctors. Most women are home makers.
But when an Indian man is faced with the biggest challenges in life,
he consults his wife. So much for their Nobel prize winning
intelligence.
Indian men
A typical Indian man has a head full of jet black hair, but is graying
at the temples. That is because he wants to show is a senior citizen
who can give advice to young men on every subject. But before a group
of beautiful girls, he becomes the youngest of the lot.

Arranged marriages
It is said eight out of ten Indians opt for arranged marriages. The
most popular question we faced was ``how can you marry a woman you
don’t know?’’. My reply was. ``What makes you think it is any
different in the USA or any other country?’’ Obvious question. Simple
answer.

Numbers
Numbers will confound you.
Here are samples.
With around 155618 post offices and over 566000 employees,
Railways 18 million people travel every day. It is the biggest public
employer with 1.6 million employees.
Milk -127 million tonnes every year. Egg – 61 billion eggs producer
Film production India 1000 against USA 600. It has over 700 registered
voters and 200 million voters.

Here is some important info
1.      There is no Indian language. There are over 2,000 languages and
dialects in this country. Take our PDG Senan for example. He speaks a
different language, his wife speaks another and his children speak
different languages. Now you know why they never fight.
2.      The words for Thank you, Please and Sorry, in Indian languages are
Thank you, please and sorry. So is the word for toilet.

Jai Ho, Ohio

2 comments:

Parimala said...

Its very good and impressive with all the details you gave about our country.

Sheshadri Kulkarni said...

wonderful speech indeed..