Friday, October 17, 2014

Global Hindustanization

It was night around 10 pm in the city of Dusseldorf in Germany in early November 2008. I asked the car pooling guy to stop the car as i thought i had reached the metro station which my friend had asked me to get down at. As i got down from the car and pulled along my rug sack bag, the cold breeze from the river Rhine chilled my spine. My cheeks turned pink and my hair was flying. "Vielen Dank für die fahrt!", i thanked the person for the ride from the city of Hamburg to Dusseldorf, as i closed the door behind me. As i walked towards the place i realized that i had got down at the wrong stop, misreading the sign board. I immediately went into a panic mode. I tried to reach my friend on the phone. But her number was not reachable. I had no clue where i had got down and how to get to my destination (the metro station). I put on my rug sack and started walking down. I asked some people passing by for the nearest metro station and went into it. I looked at the metro map at the station, trying to figure out what to do now. I suddenly heard a voice behind me, "Moechten Sie Hilfe?" ("Do you need some help?"). There was a cheerful, blond lady standing behind me. "Ja, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut. Sprechen Sie villeicht English?", (" my german is not so good. Do you perhaps speak english?").
"Yes, i speak English. Where do you want to go?", she asked me. "I am visiting a friend who lives here. I am supposed to meet her at the Königsallee S bahn station. I got down at the wrong place and i dont know how to get there. I am unable to reach her on phone!", I said all flustered. "Calm down. Don't worry. You have to take the metro line from this side of the platform. I will take you. I also go there", she said smiling. "Thanks a lot for the help!", I smiled back.

As we were walking to the platform she asked me, " Which country you belong, you are Arabic?". "No no, not arabic, I am an Indian", i said. " What! you are from India??! You know SHAH RUKH KHAN??", she literally yelped out a scream. " Yes of course, i know Shah Rukh Khan!", i said. " Oh my God!! I love Shah rukh Khan.I love Bollywood movies. Even my daughter. We are craazy about the songs and dance. Very nice!", she said literally jumping out in excitement. "Wow, thats nice to hear!", i said surprised. " Do you know he is married to his wife Gauri for sooo many years. He has two children, one sohn and one tochter. He is so romantik. Ich liebe ihn. I love him!", she continued. " I love this song Mahive Mahive, u know from his film, Kal honaho....What is meaning of Mahive?". " Err, Mahive. I dont really know what is the meaning of it. But i know the song from Kal ho Na ho. Very nice song indeed", i said. I was slightly embarrassed that i had never thought about the meaning of the word Mahive, which is commonly used in several Indian movie songs. " India is so colourful. Movies full of songs and dance. It is sooo nice. I am happy to meet someone from the country of Shah rukh Khan!", she said cheerfully.She sat and spoke to me for 20 minutes until my train arrived. I told her thanks for her help and boarded the train. "Thank God for Shah Rukh Khan i wasn't stuck helplessly all by myself!"

This was one of my first experiences living abroad where i encountered the phenomenon of 'Hindustanization' of the world! Who knew that our movies were so popular around the world and that Shah rukh Khan was a rage among European women, especially the Germans. Did you know that there was a International conference on Shah rukh Khan and global bollywood which was held in Vienna in 2010? I had watched a documentary on the same on German television.
I was also surprised to know that Yoga was mighty popular in all the countries. Every gym and every University had yoga classes regularly taking place in Germany. I did not know that there was something called Bollywood dance, which was so popular among the Germans. Not to mention that bhangra songs which have become an integral part of the German night clubs. I still remember the first time we had our university freshers party in a night club in Hamburg. I and some of the other Indian students roared in excitement when they played 'mundiya tu bachke rahi' and started dancing like mad. We created an infectious atmosphere and the rest of the crowd decided to join our dancing, asking us to teach them 'bollywood dance moves'. The Indian students association also organized a 'Bollywood party' to raise charity money in Hamburg in 2009.

Do i need to mention about the popularity of Indian cuisine? It is incredibly popular all over the globe. What about the samosa's and chicken tikka masala's, Mango lassi's and mango chutney's. Once a European colleague of mine asked me for a special bring him back an exclusive box of Shri Krishna Mysurpa while i returned from my annual trip to my hometown, Chennai! I found that Masala dosas's were a rage among the German folks during my visit to the pretty city of Heidelberg in a small Cafe called MASALA!..Exclusive vegetarian and vegan restaurants have become extremely popular in Germany these days and most of them serve a wide variety of Indian dishes. Needless to say the enormous choice Indian cuisine offers to vegetarians. 

What about the Indian people? The Indian community have for instance, become an integral part of American television. Right from the series 'The Big bang theory' to 'House'. From 'Homeland' to 'Harry Potter. Indian faces have become prominent. I met some Italian students in the students home where i was living in. They once told me, " Indians, They espeak good Inglis. So good Muah!, Italians cannotu espeak so good." I was quite surprised they noticed that. Once a Russian girl was telling me that she was very anxious about a certain situation. I gave her some advise. She then told me, " Thanks. Indians, they are so wise. So much wisdom you guys have". Wow, that was an unexpected observation!

The Indian culture and the Indian people are so popular all over the world. Be it Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood, yoga, ayurvedic massage or mango lassi. Afterall, we are the great Land which Christopher Columbus wanted to reach when he accidentally discovered the America's! Let us be mighty proud of our nation. We have every reason to glorify our culture! 
Be an active part of the phenomenon of Hindustanization and embrace it with open hands.....Jai Hind! (