The other day we were sitting in our friend's house and watching his engagement video when one of our friends quipped that his wife has a "Family Forest as opposed to a family tree". When we were wondering what he was saying he explained to us saying his wife always manages to find a link with people she is talking to. And a couple of days later I read this article by "Man from Matunga" about how he went to a party and knew almost everybody there because they were classmates, college mates or a friend of a friend and so on. This is exactly what made me write this article.
As a person who has traveled much I always found it strange how I got adjusted to any place easily. I was never able to pinpoint to a reason why this happened with me. But now I feel it is more because I always knew someone who knew someone I knew who lived in that place, or at least has been to that place before. In most cases I am also comfortable because I can manage to move around without any difficulty of breaking language barriers. And another thing to note is the vast amount of information available to us these days. I always tend to read up on the Internet about the place before going anywhere.
Initially it used to surprise me meeting my Coimbatore College mates in Baroda, Bombay or Dublin. But now I try to find out before hand as to who lives in which city and contact them as soon as I reach the city. Still I have surprises popping up from everywhere.
If this is the case with people then it is a different story with the rest of the things. I've got this habit of going to India every six months. The first time I came from India I brought all the spices and every single thing I could imagine to literally shift my home from India to Dublin. In fact I even made my Mom send me Sambar powder through my cousin in the first few months. A few months later I realized I could get everything from curry leaves to dried fish here in Dublin, at some stage I was sending them "clean" dried fish from Dublin to India! The second time on, I carry less than 10 kilos as luggage in both the directions.
I realized that I could get everything from Toblerone to Pringles, Nike to Gucci and Tommy H to Titelist in India. So why bother carrying everything from here and sometimes even paying excess baggage. I don't miss India when I am in Dublin and don't miss Dublin when I am in India. Marks & Spencer's have clothes and footwear made in India; Asia Market and the Pakistani shop provides all Indian vegetables and food. We even get spicy garlic Naan. And when I go to India I could always go to McDonalds or Pizza hut if ever I got bored of Indian food!
When I went home last time, my uncle was not happy about the fact that my parents were taking me out for dinner almost every other day. He kept saying that I would have missed "Home cooked food" in the past six months and Mom should dutifully cook for me. There was even an instance where my cousin asked me if I ever cooked at home. Little do they know that I cook more variety than they do. While they buy Ghee and Paneer, I make them at home. I host more Desi parties than they can imagine.
Last year we celebrated Vishu, Rakhi, Krishna Jayanthi, Ganpathi, Diwali and Christmas with so much fanfare that Indians in India would have envied us. Thanks to the big group of friends living here and all the required stuff being available here.
When twenty years back my father had got a job abroad we were not ready to leave him and he was not ready to leave us for the sake of money. It sure would have been difficult for us to cope up with out a friend, philosopher and guide in our teen-age years. But in my three years out of home now I do not miss my family at all. I send mails to my brother and Dad every single day. I also send them SMS messages on their mobiles every single day. And it is the same from their side also. I chat with them quite often as well. Wherever my Dad goes he has an email id and a phone number using which I can track him. Also I call them up ever so often and I fly back twice a year. To think of it, the world has shrunk for me. I time that I take to fly from Dublin to Madras is shorter than the time taken for me to go by train from Bombay to Madras in the fastest train.
Gone are the days when we would listen wide-eyed and open-mouthed to stories about how things were abroad. Now when I go back to India my friends tell me that they are just back from a go carting or a bowling session. I need not fear anymore whether they will understand what I am talking about.
While I am happy about this change I also feel that we are all losing our individuality. Ultimately when we gain so much from this big global village concept we also lose out on so many things. When I go to Spain I would like to learn more about the Spanish culture but because of the global village concept if I am not insistent on finding Spanish food I might end up eating in the nearest McDonalds. I am not sure if this is what I wanted.
The huge world that I learnt about in school is just a global village now, but am I being selfish in demanding that the global village still maintain its individuality?