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31 October, 2011

Life in India vs Life in US- Part 2

Few days back I had written a post on Life in India vs Life in US. Here is a link to that.
Today morning, I got this fabulous email from a reader who has just made my day. Here is what it says.


Kiran,

Greetings! This is my first email to you although I must admit I have been quietly reading your blog for a while now. The reason I am writing to you today is because of your blog entry comparing life in US and India struck a close note with me. I have been born and raised in Delhi where I was until I got married 5 yrs ago and came to US. I completely agree with your comments and lack of responsibility on the part of people of Indian origin who have settled in not just US but other countries of the 'developed west'. But I wanted to make sure that you know that there is another league of Indians in US - I being one of them and many many more, I am sure - this are the group of people who will NEVER EVER put their homeland in a bad light.

I hold a professional job here and that puts me in contact with people of all ethnicity and races - I never miss any opportunity to bring it up how the indian way of doing most things is the correct one. I am baffled by the culture of waste in US, materialism, lack of family support, higher incidences of people suffering from depression and other mental disorders. At the core of everything and inspite of all the development, basically people are really really lonely and there is no support system to help them.
I assure you that the westerners are quite smitten by our culture, our food, our close-knit families, spirituality and ability of Indians to control their spending - something americans greatly struggle with. This is just to name a few.

I was recently on a flight where I was flying alone and my seat was next to an older couple. I was so surprised at their knowledge of current affairs in India. The gentleman made it a point to highlight with great enthusiasm that India is the world's largest democracy (I must admit that I was a little ashamed as I had studied this in school and conveniently forgotten). He told me that his father-in-law who must be around 88 years of age - followed Anna Hazare's story on the internet because US channels did not cover most of it. He works as a building contractor and told me that it has been a life-long dream of mine to see the forts of Rajasthan and the amazing architecture. His wife was a psychiatrist and she discussed with me that she thought it was so great that most of the counseling in Indian families are done by parents - people do not, normally, have to go and talk to a counselor for every problem they face or to share their feelings - there is always a shoulder to cry upon in the family. Also, relationships are so much stronger and not futile like in US where people take each other to court for literally anything. When we got off the flight, the gentleman was very kind with his words and told me that he really believes that the west needs to learn a lot from the east, and return to the basics.

Just wanted to share this with you and make a point that it is people's own negativity who portray a bad image for India - very often these are the same people who will complain about lack of a social life in US and how they cant celebrate Indian festivals with same fervor as their compatriots in US. What we need to realize is that Life is a choice we make - we are what we choose to be: I can choose to be a pessimist and complain about everything, whether good or bad that happens in life or be a positive person, who is in touch with the reality and looks at the goodness in every person and everything that happens in life.

I greatly thank you for your blog posts and writing what you truly feel

~Surpreet

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference"
Thanks Surpreet for keeping your faith in India and Indians. Thanks for writing such a wonderful email. Truly appreciate.
And like Surpreet, I have got similar such very positive responses for this post. Mostly from non resident Indians (NRI'S- reliable ones), who have expressed similar view points about wonderful India.
I do not mind quite readers at all. I know who all come and read my blog. In fact, I appreciate you all. I am not expecting comments. Which is why I closed the comment section. When you readers have something very valid, strong to say, you can always reach me on
kiran.sawhney@gmail.com
I will be very prompt in replying back to you (unless I am traveling).

Zouk Workshop

This weekend, I attended a 3 day workshop with Marcos Fonseca and Emily for Zouk. Following are some of their web links.




Here is their video teaching us.


 And this is what I learnt




Here are few pictures of the teachers.











This is what we learnt towards the end



29 October, 2011

Kuch to Log Kahenge

These days there is this cute TV serial coming on Sony. It is called Kuch to log Kahenge. Yesterday, the main lead of the serial, Dr. Nidhi, was wearing the similar tunic that I am wearing below. I have posted it before in this blog post and this.
The tunic is by Anita Dongre.








Express yourself.

People these days are ashamed to accept/voice out their feelings. They cannot say "I love you" if they are not too sure that the other person will also reciprocate or respond. They will rather hold back their feelings for the fear of being mocked at.

Simple expressions as follows are not given tongue.

"I am hurt"
"I want to be with you, spend time with you"
"I dislike you"
"you smell bad"
"I miss you"
"I dreamt of you"
"I can't stand you"
"I do not want to see you again"
"I can't live without you"
"I need you"
"You are bugging me/irritating me"


Why hold back? Is it fear of rejection? What will the other person think? You don't want to portray yourself as too weak. Or maybe you do not want to hurt the other person. You want to show that you are too strong, independent, etc. You are a girl and hence, not expected to make the first move. You are a man and cannot show your weakness.

Strength is in overcoming fears. Strength is, when you do not bother what the other person will think about you and are able to do what you want to do. Strength is in expressing yourself.

If you are hurt, voice it. Instead of lying low and bearing insult, say to the other person that your so and so actions and words did hurt me.
If you are in love, instead of acting coy and waiting for the other person to profess it, make the first move. At the most what will happen? Your love might be rejected. But you will get clarity in head and you would have voiced it. I know of a person who kept waiting for the other person to say the magic words first. Till one day, the news came of the other person's accidental death. So now, there was a regret of not making the first move. Life is too short.

Some people even think and believe that actions speak louder than words. Hence, they do not need to say, "I love you" or for that matter "I hate you". I think you need to say it and not take it for granted that it is "obviously understood".

Communicate and verbalize. Do not suppress and withhold your feelings, desires and needs.
It may help you to build few strong bonds or probably break the shackles of some unwanted bondages. But either way, you will be free and ready to fly. 

26 October, 2011

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali to all of you.
We had a family Puja.


This is how I decorated the house with candles and Diyas.











After such a long gap, the whole family was together on the dinner table. It felt so good. Best experience that words cannot describe. 




Life in India vs Life in USA

It has always appalled me whenever tarnished image of India is presented to the world. Switch on a channel like BBC. Whenever, they have to show images of India, they will show naked sadhus, cows and bullocks on the roads, children defecating out in open. You talk to NRI's (I usually call them non reliable Indians), they seem so apologetic about their own country. They harp about pollution, corruption, crime, etc. Indians love to hate themselves for almost everything. Whenever a resident Indian meets a foreigner or even a non-resident Indian, the resident is apologetic about potholes on roads, about cattle on streets, about stray dogs, about corruption, about uncouth politicians, about this and about that. If an Indian is proud of anything, it is generally about the past - history, religion, spirituality etc. Regarding today's India, Indians show pride on the achievements of software industry. Once that has been discussed, it is back to the usual routine of being apologetic.


I have lived my life in India for 40 years plus. I have traveled all over the world. Stayed in different countries and cities (Europe/US) for months. So I know what I am talking, when I talk about India so proudly. I am not just proud of India's heritage, culture, history, values, spirituality etc. I am actually proud of and in love with India, in which I am staying today. When I take my friends, buyers, clients, relatives from overseas and show them around, they are baffled. Often, I hear them say that this is not how they had perceived and pictured India as. That is so, because the imagery and perception about India, that has been created by media, bloggers, etc is so tarnished. Without experiencing it themselves, they write from third party based information.


People complain about crime, drugs, poverty, mugging, chain snatching incidents of India. For your information, India has one of the lowest rates of sexual crimes in the world. According to National Crime Research Bureau of India, rape rate in India is just about 1.5 per 100,000, while it is about 32 per 100,000 in USA. Indian police forces are among the most primitive and corrupt ones in the world. Judicial system is not much better. USA is the richest country of the world. The police force of USA is equipped with the best possible equipment and is trained in the best possible manner. Americans take pride in their efficient judicial system. The natural question that comes to one's mind is -- in spite of undoubted superiority of US law enforcement system, why is it that women are relatively much safer in India than in USA?
It is not just the women who are unsafe in USA. Chances of burglary in USA are more than double compared to Mumbai. The chances of being robbed in rich USA are about six times higher than in poor slum-infested Mumbai. Assault or threat of assault in USA is at least thrice as likely as in Mumbai. And if you park your car on an American street, you are ten times more likely to see your car vandalized.

In India, we have not heard of woman killing her own children and chopping them in pieces and throwing them in a lake for the sake of her lover. This happens only in US of A. In India, 8-9 year old does not enter school premises with a gun and openly fires at school children. In India, we have far less cyber crimes. In India, we do not have psychopaths raping women on spree and chopping their bodies.

Personally, I have faced thefts in New York, Europe, etc but never in my home country.
I feel safe to party alone at late hours of night in Delhi. I would not take a train in late hours in New York. It will be an invitation to mugging. If you talk about poverty and drugs in India, you just have to take a look at any of the subways and metros of the world, strewed with beggars and drug addicts. Take a look at the senior citizens and their plight, in the so called "modern, developed and advanced" nations of the world. Take a look at unwed pregnant girls there. Take a look at jobless and unemployed youth after the markets crashed. Take a look at divorce and suicide rates. Take a look at cases of child molestation. And you still are proud to be an NRI? One random chain snatching incidence in India and you are ready to pull it down and hale in the glory of US of A.

The statistics provided by UNICRI do not really convey the terrible state of affairs in the so-called developed world. The following facts about United States of America are startling:
  • In the United States, 1.3 women are raped every minute. That results in 78 rapes each hour, 1872 rapes each day, 56160 rapes each month and 683,280 rapes each year.


  • 1 out of every 3 American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.


  • The United States has the world's highest rape rate of the countries that publish such statistics. It's 4 times higher than Germany, 13 times higher than England, and 20 times higher than Japan.


  • 83% of rape cases are ages 24 or under.


  • 1 in 4 college women have either been raped or suffered attempted rape.


  • 1 in 12 males students surveyed had committed acts that met the legal definition of rape. Furthermore, 84% of the men who had committed such acts said what they had done was definitely not rape.


  • Only 16% of rapes are ever reported to the police.




  • About 44% of rape victims are under age 18. Three out of every twenty victims (15%) are under age 12. (Sex Offenses and Offenders. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 1997.)


  • Seven percent of girls in grades five to eight and twelve percent of girls in grades nine through twelve said they had been sexually abused. (Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls, 1998.)


  • Three percent of boys in grades five through eight and five percent of boys in grades nine through twelve said they had been sexually abused. (Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Boys, 1998.)


  • Approximately 66% of rape victims know their assailant. (2000 NCVS.)


  • Approximately 48% of victims are raped by a friend or acquaintance; 30% by a stranger; 16% by an intimate; 2% by another relative; and in 4% of cases the relationship is unknown.


  • 61% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Those rapists, of course, never serve a day in prison. (1999 NCVS)


  • If the rape is reported to police, there is a 50.8% chance that an arrest will be made. If an arrest is made, there is an 80% chance of prosecution. If there is a prosecution, there is a 58% chance of a felony conviction. If there is a felony conviction, there is a 69% chance the convict will spend time in jail. So, even in the 39% of attacks that are reported to police, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists - 1 out of 16 - will ever spend a day in jail. 15 out of 16 will walk free.

Crime Statistics > Total crimes (most recent) by country

VIEW DATA:  Totals 
Definition     Source      Printable version   
   Bar Graph  Pie Chart  Map 

Showing latest available data.
Rank  Countries  Amount  
# 1    United States:11,877,218 
# 2    United Kingdom:6,523,706 
# 3    Germany:6,507,394 
# 4    France:3,771,850 
# 5    Russia:2,952,370 
# 6    Japan:2,853,739 
# 7    South Africa:2,683,849 
# 8    Canada:2,516,918 
# 9    Italy:2,231,550 
# 10    India:1,764,630 
# 11    Korea, South:1,543,220 
# 12    Mexico:1,516,029 
# 13    Netherlands:1,422,863 
# 14    Poland:1,404,229 
# 15    Argentina:1,340,529 
# 16    Sweden:1,234,784 
# 17    Belgium:973,548 
# 18    Spain:923,271 
# 19    Chile:593,997 
# 20    Thailand:565,108 
# 21    Ukraine:553,594 
# 22    Austria:552,411 
# 23    Finland:520,194 
# 24    Denmark:491,026 
# 25    New Zealand:427,230 
# 26    Hungary:420,782 
# 27    Czech Republic:372,341 
# 28    Zimbabwe:351,153 
# 29    Norway:330,071 
# 30    Romania:312,204 
# 31    Switzerland:307,631 
# 32    Turkey:286,482 
# 33    Morocco:283,702 
# 34    Venezuela:236,165 
# 35    Portugal:218,360 
# 36    Colombia:214,192 
# 37    Malaysia:167,173 
# 38    Peru:161,621 
# 39    Bulgaria:148,915 
# 40    Uruguay:134,010 
# 41    Belarus:132,867 
# 42    Tunisia:130,375 
# 43    Slovakia:107,373 
# 44    Greece:102,783 
# 45    Croatia:101,853 
# 46    Lithuania:92,646 
# 47    Philippines:85,776 
# 48    Saudi Arabia:84,599 
# 49    Slovenia:81,697 
# 50    Ireland:81,274 
# 51    Hong Kong:80,592 
# 52    Iceland:60,242 
# 53    Zambia:59,426 
# 54    Estonia:57,799 
# 55    Latvia:49,329 
# 56    El Salvador:44,762 
# 57    Costa Rica:40,263 
# 58    Jamaica:39,188 
# 59    Kyrgyzstan:38,620 
# 60    Moldova:36,302 
# 61    Mauritius:35,943 
# 62    Bolivia:31,138 
# 63    Luxembourg:26,046 
# 64    Yemen:24,066 
# 65    Panama:21,058 
# 66    Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of:19,814 
# 67    Kuwait:19,350 
# 68    Burma:18,301 
# 69    Malta:17,023 
# 70    Azerbaijan:15,520 
# 71    Georgia:15,029 
# 72    Papua New Guinea:13,292 
# 73    Cyprus:13,023 
# 74    Armenia:12,048 
# 75    Oman:11,782 
# 76    Nepal:8,872 
# 77    Dominica:7,857 
# 78    Maldives:7,026 
# 79    Qatar:5,838 
# 80    Albania:5,303 
# 81    Seychelles:4,297 
# 82    Montserrat:751 
Total:63,531,202  
Weighted average:774,770.8  
This is American mentality.They can so easiliy accuse the others but still commit most crime.