Jun 01, 2023
Jun 01, 2023
by Ravi Pipal
My neighbor Mehta's son is in Dubai. He is a Chemical Engineer by training but having failed to secure a job of his line he started exporting readymade garments to Dubai and one day, we learnt, he has exported himself also to Dubai. Mehta claims his son is a Chief Engineer in Dubai while ever so knowledgeable neighbors inform he is only a mechanic. Nonetheless, he is in Dubai. Dubai to an aspirant Indian means filthy rich Sheikhs. Toffee to trousers, Mehta now uses everything Made in Dubai. He can talk for hours convincing us how bad Indian toffees and trousers are and how they affect user's health. To strengthen his argument he quotes an Indian medico settled now in Abu Dhabi.
Once upon a time, when Gandhiji had to first time go to England, he had to observe very strict vows and even then he was declared an outcaste. Today Gandhiji is no more and value system of his time also is no more. However, different version of vows, in keeping with the times, is existing even today - I will amass wealth by hook or crook. I will marry a wealthy Firang and marry another docile Indian girl through ad to be my dame nay maid. Today if you don't have a brother or son in a foreign country you are looked down upon in society as if you are some sort of a sinner.
In my office there was this gentleman Burhanpurkar who was in the habit of introducing himself and in the same breathe asking the person whether he had been to any foreign country. If the reply would be affirmative he would heave a sigh and compare wretched India and Indians to great France and French, Japan and Japanese as the case may be. In case the other person has been less fortunate and not been to any foreign country Burhanpurkar would give a list of countries he had visited. Later I learnt he had been to a Railway project in Baghdad for three months.
We had a Professor, Deen Dayal Chaturvedi in our college. When he went abroad, he left his Dhoti and Choti at the airport itself. Ten months later Prof. Chaturvedi in a smartly cut safari suit got down the ramp. His newly acquired names DD and Chats. For few weeks after his arrival, we kept wondering why he covered his nose with a hanky most of the time. Later we heard him share with his close colleagues that pollution level in India has crossed the unsafe mark. A friend of mine within one week of his landing in a foreign country wrote to me to immediately send him six copies of the Gita and Ramayana. He disclosed that wherever he went people wanted to discuss with an Indian about various episodes of Ramayana and tenets of Gita but he had not the faintest idea of either.
Times have changed, earlier people went as far as Rangoon looking for greener pastures and sang about it. We had songs in our Hindi films:
Today beloveds go to States and communicate through fax. Before India attained freedom , Indians were largely going to countries such as Fiji, Mauritius and Africa but such foreign jaunts were devoid of an essential element called 'glamour'. After independence shipload of people emigrated to England, Australia and Canada. Direct from Ludhiana to London, Ahmedabad to Ottawa and Kerala to Canberra.
"Mera Piya gaye Rangoon
Wahan se kiya hai telephoon"
(My beloved has gone to Rangoon
from there he makes calls to me on telephone)
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