I am not nearly not as well travelled as I ought to be to speak intelligently on this subject. The sights and sounds of many eastern cultures in countries like Indonesia, China, Korea, Laos, Mongolia,Japan, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have eluded me or I have eluded them. While I often promise myself that I will make up for these experiences, my travel to the west has been confined to barcelona and tuscanny on the west and Singapore on the east. In fact, when I think about it I haven’t even seem the eastern part of India itself.
With whatever limited exposure I have had to the cultures on both sides of the vertical hemisphere, I like to focus on the positives while being acutely aware of the many negatives. With a lot of eastern cultures, such as the japanese and the koreans, the discipline and sensitivity to people around them never cease to amaze me. With the many Japanese I have had the pleasure to interact with, their humility and just the sense of respect they afford to the other end of the conversation is unbelievable. In Singapore, I saw the opposite of Chaos, a uniquely Indian trade mark. The sense of respect for a pedestrian right of way and for a line at the metro, never ceased to impress. Not a single vendor frowned at me for not giving change.
My travels to the west yielded rich experiences too. In Spain and Italy, I discovered hospitality, which until then I was told was exclusively an Indian forte. Their understanding and appreciation of our own culture, history and legacy contrasted our own lack of self respect and understanding of who we are and where we come from. I discovered courtesy, not just as a rare occurrence, but as a way of life. I discovered an appreciation for the concept of family which I think India has completely lost sight of. In more ways than one, Europe showed me what Indian culture was famous for.
In short, I have discovered that good people are the same everywhere. I have discovered the best in humanity everywhere. And while we are different in our own ways, we are also far more similar than we care to acknowledge. The boundaries that are drawn on maps and separate us seem so superficial. If only mankind could abandon the culture of selfishness and embraced his migratory instincts, I suspect that the many divides that we now have would disappear, not easily perhaps and with some struggle, but it eventually would.