Friday, February 21, 2014

Indian Explorer : 2 : The Disappointment

If you have read my last post about Siddhagiri Gramjeevan Museum, you would wonder, after such a wonderful experience, what disappointment am I talking about. 

The disappointment was not about any part of the museum, but about the visitors, the Indian people. Yes, that's what the real topic of my few blogs with the title Indian Explorer is. It’s about our attitude towards our heritage, places, and history. It's about how Indian mind works when we plan our trips.

This chain of thoughts started when I saw two completely different families visiting the place. Particularly, in the cave where statues and scenes narrate you about the great Indian scientists, doctors, king and their legendary work. I have written about this in my last post, and how proud it made me as an Indian.

I saw a large Gujarati family visiting the museum. A mix of all age groups, the children, very young, and slightly elder, their parents, grandparents, the entire family on a trip it seemed. And, they looked like a rich and educated family. Some members were keenly observing everything, and taking time, and some were clearly bored. So they were hurrying the others to quickly move ahead, and so they all did.

Another group was Marathi, children with their moms. May be the ladies were group of friends, or siblings. They took their children for a picnic. It’s a really nice thing to do. Those ladies didn't seem to be much educated, not more than primary schooling. Children were definitely school-going. They were gathering together in front of each statue of each eminent personality, and reading information about them together. And I heard their mom telling them "just look at the statue and move ahead, don't read."

In contrast, our group was reading and discussing everything we saw. And actually that was the thing, which made us feel so amazed, and we had the enriching experience. Both the other groups missed so much information, knowledge that was easily available there in the most engaging manner. The elder might doubt the worth of this knowledge, but children would definitely benefit from it.

This is the attitude I am talking about. From above two examples you can see that education does not change this attitude. In fact, if you remember your school trips, or so called educational trips, you can remember how most of the teachers also behave like those moms. Well, they have responsibility of hundreds of kids away from parents, we have to consider that.

But this is the general tendency. When on a trip, we are always in a hurry to get over with the current destination, and reach the next quickly. And that is the reason we don't explore any attraction in enough details.

We rely on package tours instead of personal explorations. And on such tours, multiple destinations are included in limited time duration. And the operator has to keep the tourists on toes, to be on schedule. Otherwise if any destination is missed, the tourists will blame the operator. 

If you go on a trip, try to observe the Indian tourists and the foreigner ones as well. In most of the cases, you'll see foreigner tourists are much more relaxed than their Indian counterparts. They come to India, roam on bike, go for a walk in a city they come to visit, try Indian clothes, and wear them for a day. They want to try a ride in Auto Rickshaw, and everything unique in India. They experience the culture here. 

The package tours we see are like Kerala in a week, Kashmir Vaishnodevi in 4 days, Shimla Kulu Manali in 5 days. Even abroad trips are similar, europe in 2 weeks, Thailand Malaysia in 1 week. We can’t explore one state in one week, and here they wrap entire country in 2 weeks for us. 

Agreed, that due to currency difference, foreigners find it very easy to spend months in India, and the only 2 weeks we plan our trips be it in India, or abroad eat a big chunk of our hard earned money. 

That's exactly my point. We spend our hard earned money on these trips, and we must ensure that we make that spend worth. How should we do it? I started writing on this topic to tell my ideas for it. The previous post was just to set you in a background, and tell you about a very nice place I visited. This post was to explain our attitude that I think should be changed. Wait for my next post, to read my ideas to change it, and be Indian Explorer rather than just Indian Tourist. :)