Celebrating Difference

When my Ma fell ill in the middle of the night several years ago, it was my Sikh neighbor who brought out his Taxi and helped us to the hospital. No, he didn't charge us a single Rupee.
When I flew overseas for the first time, I had a senior with me from Bihar. We goofed up in the foreign land together, helped each other and discovered things together. We even sang at a party together.
When I started my career in Bangladesh, I became friends with some of them. I even have an adopted sister and brother there.
When I shifted to Delhi, I made a few friends who formed my support group and still remain close friends. They happen to be Rajasthani, Malayali, UPite, Himachali, Uttarakhandi, Tamil, Maharashtrian, Punjabi etc.
When I was in Bangalore, my office friends were Tamil, Chattisgarhi, Malayali, Hyderabadi, Kannadiga, Kashmiri, etc.
When I traveled to Sikkim and Munnar, my friends from Karnataka were there to share those moments with me.
When I got lost in Thadiyendamol, a friend from Maharashtra and a Punjabi friend from UP were also lost with me and fought with me over interpretation of the map.
When I was traveling through the barren hills of Ladakh, there were friends who happen to be Bihari, Punjabi, and UPite (I guess, I never checked).
My chat history shows I chat a lot with my friends who are from Assam, Manipur, Delhi, etc.
When I find a long lost non-Bengali school friend on Orkut, I am equally elated as when I find a Bengali friend.

Yes, we are all different. Maybe, we speak different languages at home. Maybe, what we eat given a choice is different. Maybe our prayers are different. Maybe our traditional clothes are different. But isn't that a good thing? How boring life would be if everyone around me were similar in taste, manners, and habits! I can't alienate people because they are different. I will go on celebrating the differences. Are you with me?

20 comments:

Woodsmoke said...

This is a wonderful post. I loved the list in the beginning. It's vivid, engaging, and you convey your point without making it sound like yet another wordy, academic argument.

Your post reminds me a little bit of a lot of foreign students on the campus. For many of them staying with their own national/regional groups is a matter of security, which is understandable, and they are probably celebrating differences within such groups as well. But a campus, particularly one in the US, is larger than that given that even a relatively small campus like ours has students from approximately 190 countries. If only it was physically possible for all of us to be able to reach out to each other in every such group and learn something of value from every interaction.

Aarbee said...

I completely agree with you. And I am sure it was a bit of an effort to recollect who is from where. We soo badly need to get over it. And I wonder if that would ever happen in reality for the nation as a whole.

~ ॐ ~ said...

Totally mere Bengali :D

Leh had
Bengali
Bihari
UPite (2 of them)
Delhite

and it was one of the best trips I have EVER been to !!!

Adisha Agarwal said...

so true.. and so awakening... I agree to whatever you wrote in here... I think we move on in our life without realizing these differences, because somewhere we enjoy them as we connect with the people... even though they are different from us... I think differences are necessary else everything would be quite dull... Celebrating them is what would bring a smile of our faces... I love this post of yours... :)

burf said...

absolutely

B. O'Hemian said...

@Woodsmoke
Thanks. I understand the security factor, but if one stays cocooned in their own group, they will miss out so much. If only we were able to reach out and learn.

@RB
It was an effort. I wonder if it can happen with such politicians and lack of true education among the mass.

@Om
Totally. But we didn't think of our ethnicity there, did we? In fact I remember all of us being proud when we saw the Indian flag being unfurled on 15th August by the Pangong Tso.

@Adisha
Thanks. We do connect with other people, in spite of differences, because the common connecting factors are there.

B. O'Hemian said...

@burf
:)

Butterfly said...

Am completely with you, though I have never had a chance of celebrating this difference. But,I know that someday, I will and I am desperately waiting for that time.

Butterfly said...

Oh, and thanks for changing the picture!:-)

Reeta Skeeter said...

ek dum with you on this...
cheers!
:)

oh btw me a punjab but aami ektu ektu bangla jaani :D khi khi
flashes teeth*

B. O'Hemian said...

@Butterfly
You are sure to get a chance, and when you do, I am sure you will grab the chance to celebrate differences.

@Reeta
:-) Khub bhalo.

~ Deeps ~ said...

wonderful post.
I wish the so called "sons of soil" in every state should see some sense in this thought.

arey who can forget 15 aug flag ceremony by those bikers on shore of pangong.....it was an amazing feeeling and so it was looking at the lives of BRO and army people from various states. Remember when jawans from chennai offered us the tea at changla.....that was so nice of them..........those are some memories :)

B. O'Hemian said...

@Deeps
Thanks. Who can forget those jawans from Chennai and their hospitality? So many special memories with diversity!

I am said...

Am totally with you on this..My list of friends follow the same path.. and I do exhale in excitement if/when I come across a bong friend!

"Diversity" is always an enriching and rewarding experience both genetically, socially and mentally. And I do not see a reason why I should not opt for it?

But on a deeper note how much we ever we differ in our culture, tradition and belief system the basic nature of people across the globe remains consistent that's why we connect I guess(as mentioned by you as well).

Two nice posts. :)

B. O'Hemian said...

@I_am
Yes... the basic nature of people remains same, and that's why we connect. Hope we can be more open about these things.

Kanu said...

Wow...It is just amazingly well written...

I wish t write so much about the post but there are no words other than AWESOME that would do justice to this post.

B. O'Hemian said...

@Kanu
Coming from you that's a huge compliment. Thanks.

I am very sad to know about the closure of your blog though. I can only say what I told Sourav (Ganguly) - please reconsider.

Rohit Talwar said...

Killer post dau. I'm with you. Can't add to that. You're my only non-Bengali brother :D

B. O'Hemian said...

@RT
Err... you are my only Bengali brother???

Rohit Talwar said...

Arre, solid galti ho gaya. But you know what I meant, now stop it. :-/