As a friend once quoted “It’s easier to support the Indian Cricket team in the world cup but it’s a whole other ball game to actually love living in India”
“Uh what rubbish” I thought! I love India! Oh the smell when I hit Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai when I finally breathe in that air and realize yes I am home! Mere Bharat Mahan! Jai Hind! And something along those lines…
Yes well, with a 3 hour flight delay (why Air India of course), no sign of our pre booked taxi at the arrivals anywhere and the disgusting smell in the washroom, you have to believe you have arrived at an Indian Airport.
I wrinkle up my nose and muster up the courage to enter the ladies room, storming out with a brilliant idea, I looked at my mom and said, “They should honestly start charging to use public washroom! Like they do in London? Then they can use the funds to keep it clean!” Nope. My mom didn’t look at me like I had stumbled upon a million dollar idea and merely said “Well I already paid for you after you ran in” Uh oh I thought glancing at the two strangers collecting money in front of the washroom, I guess India has bigger problems than I thought.
We finally caught an overpriced cab for a 6 hour ride from Mumbai to Surat, Gujarat and well with so much time to kill I decided to Google some current year statistics on India –
- The Indian economy is the world’s tenth largest economy by nominal GDP
- The Indian economy is the fourth largest economy by purchasing power parity.
- Current economic trends indicate India is a leader to a large emerging affluent middle class society.
Nmmm boring, I yawned and went back to listening to my Bollywood songs on my iPod; I look outside my window, sigh* picturesque serene mountains with clouds melting from the sky, for a moment there I thought I was in a whole other country…nmmm…maybe Spain…no maybe…Canada…no maybe…and then a loud horn! Screeeech! and I stumbled across the backseat to look up in the front and see a bull staring wildly at me through the windshield crossing the road at its own leisure. Yup I am in India alright.
In case you are not an economics student but probably know that GDP stands for Gross domestic product but are still wondering what the hell does that even mean? GDP is the market value of goods and services produced within the country, in other words, the ranking by the nominal GDP is the position of that country’s standard of living (not taking into account the cost of living in the country) which is exactly what PPP does (to put it in simpler words).
But I am not here to lecture on economics, I am sure you did already know that 300 out of the Fortune 500 companies outsource their IT work to India making them the 2nd largest employer in the IT and services sector but what you didn’t know is how much corruption and bribery is out there in that same work force. You are presumably already aware that India has the third largest education system in the world (after USA &China), but what you didn’t notice is that even the best universities are probably overlooking the slums. I bet you heard about the $9 billion programme invested to improve India’s infrastructure but what you can’t look past is the unhygienic and dirty public restroom conditions in that same infrastructure. Sure! You are already confident with the way things are going that the average income per person could easily double within the next decade but what you are really worried about is the viciousness of the poverty circle and the many beggars out there ready to pounce on you at a red light.
Three days later, I landed safely back in my foreign land realizing who cares about things such as dirty roads, pollution, poverty and population in face of the statistics of India’s uprising super power and the brilliant facts that were laid out in front of me over the past weekend. I was feeling rejuvenated and confident about the future of my mother land now more than ever and nothing could bring me down.
A few hours later, I was rushed to the hospital for severe stomach pains. My doc put me on a drip and before the meds started to kick in, I could hear a faint conversation in the background.
Doc – “How did she get food poisoning?”
Mom – “Well, we just landed from India”
Doc – “Oh ok”
I passed out.
Illusion? That is my India.