Thursday, April 12, 2007

India -- The land of cows, crowds, potholes... and love!!

Did my first US visit last week. Now I can stand up and face the world.

Sadly, by the time I got the chance to visit USA, the "awe" factor has been lost. India has progressed enough for us not to go oooh and aaah when we see a Go-Karting track or a Sports Bar or even super-cheap electronics with nearly-nil warranty. As I would joke, the same factory in China supplies iPod clones to both of us. So why buy in San Jose flea market when I can get the same--probably cheaper-- at Kempegowda's National Market!

The only thing that did awe me, perhaps, were the roads. Something not difficult for India to achieve. Yet, something that does not have national will behind it. My take is that India's progress is purely entrepreneur driven with no strategic direction by our governments. This is unlike China, Vietnam or even the US where a lot of energy goes in creating the right "ambience" for business. In the long run, it takes more than just cheap labour and Rupee-Dollar disparity to sustain success!!

Despite everything being so 'perfect', I did miss the 'human interaction' that is part of life in India. I pray that with all our 'practical thinking' and 'progress', we retain the human element of daily lives. In the US, it seemed to me that people get so comfortable with machines, meeting other fellow beings for any non-profit purpose scares them into hiding in a cave somewhere. Then we need to send in Deepak Chopra and Bikram Yoga to bring them back.

This visit made me appreciate our lives in India a lot more. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay out there. On the other hand, I was surprised to not feel the over-powering desire to migrate which seems to be part of Indian DNA.

All the baingan-lores that form our daily grind, that is what separates us from the Matrix. I wonder, how much longer?

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