This post has been a few weeks in the making simply because I don’t know how to end it. Perhaps you can help me out with that.
My husband, Viraj, and I had gone to Dubai for a quick trip last month. A long weekend coupled with two days of leave – the perfect recipe for a getaway. To be honest, the city took me by surprise, a very pleasant one FYI. Not that I had any expectations, however I never thought I would like it as much as I did. To a great extent it reminded me of London – a global city. There are people from all over the world. To build a city from a desert! That is some achievement!
One afternoon we decided to go for the highly recommended desert safari. The driver came to pick us up exactly on time. Our co-passengers for the evening were two mother-daughter sets from Singapore. The mothers were sisters and were visiting one of the girls who now lives is Dubai. We didn’t talk much through the journey to the dunes, just some polite conversation about where we were from and our purpose of visit to the city.
After our crazy dune bashing, dinner was at the campsite. The six of us were at one table enjoying the belly dance and other activities that were planned for us. While having dinner, the lady who was sitting next to me asked me very quietly, ‘If you don’t mind, can I ask you something?’
‘Sure.’ I said.
‘How is it like being an Indian woman? I’ve heard women are not allowed to study or work and are often beaten up by their husbands.’
There was complete silence from my end. I had never been asked that question by anyone. Being a ‘modern Indian women, I have had all the freedom to make my own decisions, study as much as I wanted to and even marry the man that I wanted to. I don’t think it is only because of my progressive parents, it is simple because of how we are now.
I tried to be as articulate as well as I could while saying, ‘Umm.. no.. That’s not really true you see. This mostly happens in the less privileged places, but things are changing for the better… umm.. errr…’
‘What about all the rapes?’ She went on, ‘You hear of it all the time!’
Viraj heard the conversation and came to my rescue, also trying to fight the fire. He explained to her that we’re a large country and unfortunate things happen. Things get hyped by the media, etc, etc, etc. However, no matter what we said, we realized that we’re just trying to justify all that has been happening and defend our country and its people. We are one of them after all no matter how hard we tried. Fortunately this conversation didn’t last very long.
This incident really took us by surprise. It made us think about how we, Indians, are perceived globally. No one asked about our successful Mangalyaan mission or how Modi created waves on his trip to the US. Imagine the state of the regular Indian guy because he will be compared to the man who rapes. Is this what people think of us?
You can now imagine my predicament in how I want to conclude this post. While I am extremely proud to be who I am and were I am from, I am embarrassed the state of affairs in the country. One person’s actions have an impact on how people perceive who I am. We no longer belong just to our country. We are now on a global platform. Who we are reflects on every citizen of this country. I am proud to be an Indian, please do not make me wish that I wasn’t.
By writing this post, I want to bring forward an incident that happened to me. I’m sure there are many of you who have been witness to similar situations. Where are we at fault? What can we do to make it better? I don’t have the answers. Perhaps we can brain storm and come up with something that might help so that none of us are subjected to such humiliation. This is your platform. Help me end this post on a positive note.