Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lokam Bhāratam-ized!

Wondering at the blog title? read on .. I am sure you will understand as you read through! :)

The grass is always greener on the other side ... I couldn't think of a better idiom than this when I chose to write on this topic. At this juncture when India and the Indians are getting more and more influenced by the western culture and trends, it is ironic yet evidently true that the world is getting increasingly 'Indianized'!

Back in February, I visited Kerala with my wife and happened to be at beautiful Kovalam beach one lovely evening. After a long stroll along the beach we decided to get back to the hotel. As we were exiting the beach, we suddenly noticed a bunch of foreigners entering the beach right around the sunset time. Out of curiosity we waited to see what they were up to (when everyone else in the beach were returning back). To my surprise they all climbed a small hillock overlooking the ocean, unpacked their yoga mat and settled together comfortably. Without wasting any time, they all started doing sun salutation yoga, chanting mantras for sun deity. With curiosity raising to its zenith, we quickly climbed the hillock and asked the local beach guard on what was happening exactly! I was taken aback when he said, they are a group of people from different countries who come to the beach every year in February to meditate and practice yoga together.

~ Peaceful Sunset ~
Sunset yoga at Kovalam beach, India
With goosebumps we could only think to ourselves, how the world is going more Indian than we actually are! It is no doubt Meditation is the "in" word today. Those seeking peace in their busy daily life are turning to meditation which was introduced to the world by Hindu sages thousands of years ago. There is almost no place in the world where someone hasn't heard of or practicing this ancient method of staying healthy.

Not to forget our traditional health care system, Ayurveda, originated 3,000 years ago is currently the buzz word across the world. According to a recent National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health practices by Americans, more than 200,000 U.S. adults had used Ayurveda in the previous year. It feels good to see our country has given the world a true gift of knowledge for leading a healthy life and the world is in fact taking it seriously!

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In an other instance, while traveling in Bali (Indonesia) this May, I met this wonderful Javanese lady who developed liking for Indian food for its tasteful spices, herbs and healthy ingredients, came all the way down to India, learnt traditional methods of preparing Indian food and setup an 'Indian' restaurant in Bali! You cannot imagine how wonderful it was to be greeted by the beautiful word "Namaste!" by the Balinese staff and taste our traditional Indian food, cooked by a Javanese lady, in a distant island country, thousands of miles away in the east of Asia!!

Posters of old Bollywood movies and Amitabh Bachchan!
Steamed rice presented in a traditional way along with tasteful Indian curry!
She also mentioned how during her stay in India, she developed liking towards the colorful arts of our country and wanted to decorate her restaurant in an authentic Indian way. Also her liking for old Bollywood movies lead to the posters of old Hindi, Bangla movies and 'Amitabh Bachchan' decorating her restaurant walls!! Not to forget, how people from different countries flock to her restaurant in the Balinese cultural district to get a taste of authentic 'Indian' food!!  Oh boy, am I not proud of our wonderful cuisine! ;-)

Also another day in Bali, I went to watch their traditional cultural performance called "Kechak" dance. I was taken for a surprise when the act was depicting episodes from the Indian Hindu epic Ramayana. It was really nice to see the far flung impact of our culture on other countries and the way it is appreciated by locals!

Balinese Kechak act depicting a scene from Hindu epic Ramayana
There is no doubt the Indian culture has an increasing influence on the world. Looking at Southeast Asia, there is hardly any place without some trace of Indian culture, whether in the language, art or customs that is followed by people. Even people from western countries are now turning their head towards Indian culture and its philosophy as their preferred way of living!

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During travels, I have also come across personalities from different countries who were influenced by Indian arts, dedicated their life to it and played a huge role in taking it across the borders. If you have not heard about Myrta Barvie, an Argentinian icon who dedicated five decades of her life to Indian dances and working tirelessly to spread it in Latin america!

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How many of us know that Indians first produced and turned cotton into clothes? When Indians were wearing cotton clothes, the Greeks are said to have still been wearing animal skins. Thus Indian clothes and fashion has always had the most striking impacts on people far and wide. It is a known news that western celebrities have always had a fascination with Indian designs. From the days of Goldie Hawn sporting sari looks back in 70's to current Hollywood celebrities, all of them enjoy wearing Indian traditional clothes and carry them beautifully as a fashion statement! And the trend is only increasing! :-)

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Just to keep this post short, from this latest news about 'Dosa Man' making waves in the New York city and people going crazy about his healthy South Indian crepes ...

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to the Indian festivals being fondly celebrated abroad by locals with equal pomp and vigor ...
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to US president Obama lighting the traditional lamp in the white house back in 2009 and the first lady Michelle Obama giving a speech about Diwali for Americans last year ....

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and the latest and greatest news about Indian sacred festival of lights 'Diwali' being happily embraced by Australians of all backgrounds as one of many cultural and religious celebrations in their country by lighting their iconic opera house for Diwali this year !!!

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Last but not the least, check out this latest TV commercial from Lufthansa India, the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airlines in the entire Europe shares how they embrace Indian culture and how the brand is more Indian than we all imagine it to be!!


Isn't it evident the world is looking down on India for its rich cultural heritage and becoming more and more 'Indianized'. I am sure this post only touches the tip of the iceberg but I hope I made my point loud and clear!! :-) What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments :-)

PS: Wherever possible I have used my own images in my blog post and wherever photographs from external sources are used, I have added source link below the image. If you are a owner of one such image and want me to take down the image for various copyright reasons, please leave a comment to this blog post and I will take it down immediately. I do not intend to violate any of the copyright policies associated with the image.

This blog post was written for "More Indian than you think" blog competition being conducted by Lufthansa India in conjunction with IndiBlogger - http://bit.ly/MITYTIndiblogger.

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