Friday, July 23, 2010

Living in India makes you (or at least it should make you) more interested in learning about the country itself. After all, you are living in it. As a result I spend some of my time researching many a questions.

Google has that interesting feature that lets you perfect your search to their most common phrased questioned. If you start typing this, "Why is India so " --- Google will pop up with some suggestions to finish your question. You might be interested to know the most commonly phrased questions on India. Number one being "Why is India so dirty" second being "Why is India so poor" and third "Why is India so hot".

Out of curiosity, I chose the number one question. "Dirty" was not as interesting as I'd thought it'd be. I was hoping for some thought provoking reasons, something to do with infrastructure, perhaps a time and date when things began to get bad, a politicians name from history. Some concrete evidence. But nothing really substantial came up, only Indian blogs titled "Why foreigners think India is so dirty" or questions posed to other Indians such as "Are we dirty?". Some were fairly good and had some interesting theories, but a majority do the same thing most Indians do. Which is to tell you you're wrong and that India is amazing and they'd never leave it in a million trillion years (even though they've never been anywhere else). Or they'll cop an attitude about the rumour even being passed around that their country IS dirty. Or the one I am most sick of hearing about, when they actually admit to their country being somewhat dirty but boast about how great their country will be later. Throw in some comments about how they'll kick everyone elses' ass in the THE FUTURE and you have yourself the typical majority response from the "Proud Indian" (notice I said majority, obviously not everyone feels this way).

The future, the future, the future. That's the trend I am noticing. It's all you'll see them say, on any given Youtube video showing India as is, poor people, dirt, animal cruelty. People actually comment "India doesn't look like that! Typical foreigners, always giving us a bad name by filming the bad areas." Which is a total lie I have to tell you. I came to India thinking there would be "bad areas", areas that were of course dirty, etc. But I assumed with all the money in India, and this emerging middle class, that surely there would be "nice areas" too? But there isn't, in fact when I first moved here I asked one of my fellow expats this (now ridiculous) question, "So where are the nice areas in town?" she laughed for about 5 minutes in my face. They simply DON'T EXIST.

India could be great. It's an undeniable fact. But they must let go of these fixations on being #1. Or should I say obsession? China is on the path to becoming AND will no doubt be #1, having just visited there I feel like they're light years ahead of India, especially when it comes to the standard of living. If India would stop looking outward and quit worrying about being better than everyone they may have a chance at being great in the next 50 years or so. But, it doesn't change how it is here NOW, does it? India is still a dirty place to live in the present day. That is just a fact.

I do however look forward to seeing India's progress.

(Sidenote: Out of curiosity I typed, "Why is the US so --" the answers Google provided were also interesting. Since it's World Cup season, #1 was "bad at soccer", #2 dependant on oil, #3 "powerful" #4 "rich")


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