Why can’t we be more like ourselves?

Years ago, a tourist guide and I happened to accompany a British Member of Parliament (who was a visitor to Madras) to show around our temples. When we introduced ourselves he glanced at our hands to see whether we wore rings on our fingers. Noticing we wore more than one on both hands, he looked quite puzzled. Probably not able to contain his curiosity, he wanted to know whether we were married! Subsequently, we explained to him that married women wore a thali and toe rings which were symbols of marriage among Hindu women.

As we were travelling along he appeared excited at everything he saw through the window, right from the way our women dressed in a sari carried themselves and were going about their work with a smile ! What impressed him most was the sight of people sitting on the pavement engrossed in reading the morning newspaper and generally looking very happy and contended.

Suddenly turning to us, he said, why do you say there is poverty and illiteracy in your country, people seem to be so happy here and aware of things happening around unlike in our country where they wear not a smile but all their troubles on their faces.

Recently, I met a mediaperson from France who   made a similar observation, adding why our  women cannot stick to the Indian  way  of dressing which she found very graceful and elegant. Why do you have to imitate us? She  asked.

N Meera Raghavendra Rao


One thought on “Why can’t we be more like ourselves?

  1. orrvee

    I agree with the British M.P. that poverty is a relative term. See this story which I came across last week!


    One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to
    the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people
    live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would
    be considered a very poor family.

    On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

    “It was great, Dad.”

    “Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

    “Oh yeah,” said the son.

    “So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

    The son answered:

    “I saw that we have one dog and they had four.

    We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have
    a creek that has no end.

    We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

    Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

    We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go
    beyond our sight.

    We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

    We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

    We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to
    protect them.”

    The boy’s father was speechless.

    Then his son added, “Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.”

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