aniruddha pathak

The world Indianizes as we Globalize

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2014 at 22:55

It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against Gravity- Kofi Annan

How very aptly put by 7th Secretary General of UN. When two cultures meet a culture shock is bound to happen. The shock may cause clashes or peaceful coexistence. Earlier rulers used to conquer nations and enforce their culture on the inhabitants of that nation, some cultures survived, some got extinct.Times changed and people started to accept the cultural differences. We started to take the goodness of each culture and evolve as a human race. Indian culture has evolved too, from the various rituals and Taboos that existed, we are not a country of just snake charmers any more. In this era of Communication and Media, no country is too far. A kid in India may know more about France than a kid from Paris and vice-versa. Globalization is all about interdependence of multiple cultures. Its about multiple cultures accepting the existence of each other, and learning from each other.

With innovations that happened in travel space, when people moved out of India they took a part of India with them. They managed to travel to Europe, America, Canada, West Indies, heck all the way to Fiji. Now you will find an Indian in almost every corner of the world, so much so that travelling to Bangkok seems you still feel at home, especially if you are a Jain, they have Jain restaurants!! Isn’t that amazing?

We as Indians, especially vegetarians, are paranoid to travel. Why you ask? Food, is the answer. Food happens to be our favorite word after Family, may be for some of us its even before Family, but that’s not the point I am trying to make here. I am a vegetarian, and I LOVE FOOD. So, whenever I have to travel to another country, and I have traveled to Europe, Asia and America so far, Food happens to be my primary worry. When I saw this advertisement by Lufthansa, I could relate to it. It shows how things have changed, how concerns of Grandfather are not true anymore. The kid is however confused because his grandfather’s concerns were not true, that the airline was there to adjust to the needs of their passengers.

I recently traveled to Canada and I was glad to see how Indians, especially our Sikh friends have merged into the local culture. From meeting an Indian at the immigration desk to the cab driver, and when I finally reached my hotel,again an Indian managing the front desk. I switched on the television and there was an Indian channel to surf through as well, with advertisements that spoke of Indians operating Law firms.

Advertisement in Winnipeg

Advertisement in Winnipeg

Some friends even told me that if I visit Brampton I would mistake it to be a city in India, considering the amount of Indians that live there. My Boss in Canada a fancy Indian restaurant where I could taste authentic Punjabi food, perhaps the best Punjabi food, I have ever eaten. They even served Masala chai, the same way its been sold across any Indian street, pouring from one glass to another to cool it down. What fascinated me was the Canadian waitress who served masala chai to us and seem to be an expert at handling this trick of serving masala chai.

Being a vegetarian, I was skeptical about finding vegetarian food, but I was wrong. I found “Delicious Veg Restaurant” that served only Vegetarian food, yes you heard that right. A city like Winnipeg in Canada to have only veg restaurant surprised me. When I walked into the restaurant I saw that it was being run by a Chinese woman, her guests were mostly Indians- Gujaratis, Punjabis everyone and even Canadians who were fascinated to try Vegetarian beef (fried Tofu). Talk about the whole world being at one place.

Delicious veg restaurant

Delicious veg restaurant- Winnipeg

As if that was not enough on my visit to Fork, a community place visited by locals in Winnipeg to shop and for recreation I found a statue of none other than Mahatma Gandhi. What was even more endearing was to see a couple sit on front of the statue and explain it to their kid about what Gandhi stood for. That really warmed my heart, as to how our friends in Canada valued Gandhi.

Gandhi statue at Fork- winnipeg

Gandhi statue at Fork- winnipeg

The best part was on my way back at Tronoto airport I managed to find a restaurant called “Marathi” that served Indian food. Having already tasted Indian food back in Winnipeg I was tempted to try it, and swear I have not eaten an awesome combination of Pumpkin and Paneer anywhere in India. The Gralic naan they served, well i would say Indian restaurants should learn from “Marathi’ restaurant how to make amazing Garlic naans. The Naan kept melting in my mouth and the Paneer pumpkin kept disappearing from the plate as I kept wondering, was i really away from India?

Garlic Naan- Marathi restaurant Toronto

Garlic Naan- Marathi restaurant Toronto

Paneer Pumpkin with Basmati rice-Marathi restaurant Toronto

Paneer Pumpkin with Basmati rice-Marathi restaurant Toronto

I have been fascinated by Latin dancing, its culture, one of the reasons I have been pursuing this dance form for nearly 6 years now. in terms of dancesport we have a long way to go, however very soon we will get there. The dance school that I go to is a combined effort by Indian instructors and a German instructor. Whenever our German instructor comes to India, I have seen him go crazy over Indian food especially Chaat. He is so warm, and an amazing instructor, he expects us to dance to our fullest potential, and hopefully one day we will be able to make him proud. I love his commitment to our dance school , how he takes time out from his busy schedule to even attend outdoor activities of our dance school. I mentioned this to showcase how an Indian dance school is striving to teach Latin dance forms, in collaboration with a German instructor.

Dancing the rumba at PIDC

Dancing the rumba at PIDC

With Kay, our german instructor (in center) at a picnic in Karjat

With Kay, our german instructor (in center) at a picnic in Karjat

Bollywood our best export I guess so far, our movies are now seen and appreciated world over. Fans, not just Indian fans, love our movies. I happened to speak to a Serbian couple at Venice, who told us how their grand parents loved watching Indian Soap opera. Our movies are now studied, and researched across the globe. People want to learn bollywood dance forms. Recently I came across this fantastic video made by German fans on “Kal ho na ho”. Somebody very rightly said, the emotion of love does not see boundaries-

Know of someone who teaches bollywood dance form in Australia. You will notice how local Australians have embraced bollywood dance and how well they actually dance it. Not just in Australia even in US our Indian dance forms have made it to “So you think you can dance”, one of the number one dance reality shows, loved across the world.

Time to surprise with another German dancing on the song-Kajrare

Indian dance form at- So you think you can dance Song: Ooh la la. Movie: Dirty picture

Yoga our next best export that has been accepted world over, practiced world over, even by hollywood celebrities to stay fit and stay young. The benefits of yoga, which needs absolutely no equipments and can be practiced at home, are enormous and world has recognised it. Its amazing how people across the world are practicing this form, and not just practicing it, but even teaching it and spreading the benefits.

Our Chicken Tikka Masala was till recently among the top 10 favorite dishes in UK, Tourists visiting India now fancy the spicy Indian curry. Indians have accepted world cuisines from Chinese (well we did Indianise this one), Italian, Mexican, Thai. People from all nationalities can now find food that will make them feel at home in India, and as I already shared, we Indians can also be at home outside India. Its happening, the world is slowly being Indianised as we Indiand Globalize!!

More Indian than you Think 

Diwali – a time for family!

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2014 at 10:28

Diwali -a festival of lights, which we have started associating with crackers too. Recent efforts by NGOs and schools have started spreading awareness about how we can still have a happy time celebrating without crackers. It’s a time to meet and and greet your old friends, relatives, sit down discuss and enjoy breaking bread together.

My early memories of celebrating diwali go back to the times when I was in New Bombay. Kids then used to wake up very early in the morning, take a shower and head out to burst crackers. I found it fascinating as a kid. My mother used to make chaklis, chiwda and ghujias too. I think its a Maharashtrian tradition to do so and share it with everyone in the neighbourhood. I was too shy so I used to take my sister along with me to distribute plate full of such snacks. Once Diwali fell exactly on the day of my birthday, I was still waiting for my dad to cut the cake when I got the news that it will be some time till dad returns home because one of the camps where Dad used to work was on fire, thanks to a strak rocket which caused it. Since then I decided never to burst crackers.

When we moved to Delhi, diwali suddenly got a new meaning. It meant markets that were lit up in fancy lights, and lots and lots of sweets. The shops in Delhi that time had 100s of sweet shops and it seemed they could do with a lot more. Gifting also forms a central part of Diwali celebrations in Delhi. You can spot many uncles riding with multiple gift boxes on their scooters or in their Maruti cars. What I did not like was how people competed while bursting crackers, leading to noise pollution. Thankfully few years later courts took care of it and people adhered to the deadlines for bursting crackers.

When I stepped out to work in Hyderabad, Diwali was looked forward to. It was the time when we would return home. I used to stay with my friends in Hyderabad, and all of them were from Delhi. Looking for good deals on flights (Low cost carriers like Air Deccan made it affordable those days) or even booking in time on train was good fun. I still remember those train journeys back home. Coming home in the Delhi chill was awesome, and then home food which I had missed, I would spend my time just eating home food meeting school friends and trying out new food joints in CP, that would have opened recently.

Now, finally having settled in Mumbai, Diwali is more about looking forward to some gujju delicacies ;) . Visiting relatives, and meeting friends over dinner, going to Worli sea-face to just look at crackers bursting and highlighting the Mumbai skyline is a treat. This year we plan to have friends come over for dinner – what are your plans?



In Uncategorized on October 20, 2014 at 10:07

It was not until Rhea had her first bout of cold that I realised the importance of how the health of a child determined the happiness of the family. Rhea happens to be the only child in our family and hence the doting parents were naturally worried to the point of rushing her to the doctor who seemed totally cool and calm about it.

Despite the prescribed medicines, which Rhea obviously spitted out, things did not seem to work too well. I was getting a bit edgy and annoyed at the doctor, who said come after 6 days if the cough does not subside. I was even trying to figure out how in the world did Rhea catch cold even though she stayed inside most of the time. Rhea kept waking up in her sleep late at night crying, unable to breahte properly. After three days i decided it was enough and took her to the doctor again.

The doctor said that the cough had become severe and changed the medicines. I felt like strangulating the doctor but then controlled myself. He was only doing his job, and he had taken good care of Rhea since she was born. These doctors work at ungodly hours sometimes and I do have a soft corner for them when it comes to these issues.

After learning my lessons the first time around, when Rhea kept spitting the medicines out, I googled to search for ways to administer medicines. After scanning through multiple websites, I learnt multiple methods and was successful in making Rhea have her medicines. Twitter also helped, by providing suggestions.

Wife was also worried, and work also took a toll on both of us. Thankfully we had my MIL help us during this tough time. Every time Rhea coughed perhaps made both of us sad. We could see how she was struggling to breathe properly. The worst was watching her cry in her sleep because she could not breathe. Little things in life, which we ignore sometimes, actually happen to be key to our happiness. Like in this case the health of your child. Precaution, prevention is perhaps key to ensure a family stays healthy, and this automatically translates into a happier family.

I am a great believer of a healthy body means a peaceful mind, this leads to happiness. This was reinforced by this incident. I have already planned to make Rhea start early with Yoga and naturally healthy food options. Make it more interesting for her to make healthier food choices so going forward she can have a healthy body. I even plan to make her start early with flexibility exercises so she will not have to struggle like me to get splits, which will help her have a healthier body. What are the healthy things you do for your child?


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