Keep learning more and more…
Every hour and every day I’m learning more,
The more I learn, the less I know about before,
The less I know, the more I want to look around,
Digging deep for clues on higher ground…
So goes a the lyrics from a famous song Higher Ground by the British band UB40.
There is a lot we can learn from life and our experiences living it. From the people we meet, from the things we see, from what we hear or read in our day-to-day life. Its a cliche but a universal truth of life – we keep learning every day, and the day we stop learning we start dying… I do wish to continue being a student of life till the day I am alive. Reading, listening what others have to say is the most practical part of our learning process, but the thrill of experiencing it ourselves first hand is a unique one in itself. I love every opportunity I get to experience things first hand.
Similar scenario can be viewed differently by people from different cultural background. I’ve had shocks of my life many a times hearing the horror stories of people from outside India when they travel to India and even from India living in big cities when they travel to the Rural India. The crude reality of Indian life makes people react differently. More than anything else, it just shows their own class and cultural upbringing. Sometime I feel really sad at the way a people look down upon India, they include people travelling from abroad, those who have grown up in different environment and now attempting to make India their home, even some Indians, born and brought up in India yet looking down upon the Indian way of life, it’s culture and traditions. Their inherent discomfort with this feeling of Indian-ness mostly remain hidden behind the superficial veil of ignorance. Those of us who can see through that veil also keep mum, mostly, out of politeness as well as our own lack of self-confidence.
But then sometime we come across some people who surprise with the depth of their thinking and broadness of vision. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by an interaction with an extremely wonderful person.
An American from the Baby-Boomer generation who didn’t had any stereotypical traits that are commonly perceived to be the sign of a cocky American. A gentleman to the core, extremely courteous to a fault, deeply sensitive to the cultural differences, having a great taste in art and an amazing sense of humor. I found it impossible to extract any standard outrageous American response despite my stubborn, non-stop questioning and provocations.
Travelling through the heart of India non-stop for 10 days; out in the villages, agricultural fields, mines and quarries from 7am in the morning to late into the night; interacting with farmers and contractors about their experiences in life; if this wasn’t sufficient for an enriching experience then there was a learned professor who have traveled across the world, impeccable technical knowledge and vast experience. The american who not only destroyed many stereotypical perceptions of United States of America which I had but also helped me look deep within our own society and learn a thing or two which we tend to gloss over usually. We always get influenced by the company we keep, and in the company of a wonderful human being who was also a learned professor, I too learned a lot… I will share some pictures and the learning from this unforgettable trip…