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Indian-ified - The World is More Indian Than You Think

This post is written as an entry to the #MoreIndianThanYouThink contest by Lufthansa India. It was a contest I found out through Indiblogger: http://bit.ly/MITYTIndiblogger Good ads are rare to see these days. But this Lufthansa India TVC was really touching. Here we have an international airline that has tapped into the EQ of Indians so beautifully. We witness a conversation between a grandfather and his grandson where the former discusses his preconceptions about travelling to Germany by a German airline. But Lufthansa breaks these notions with the airlines being so clued in to India and its culture!

This topic 'How the world is more Indian than you think' is an interesting one. While our country with her burgeoning young population is aping the West, the rest of the world is watching India closer than we think. Decade after decade, NRIs have been leading the way in being India's culture ambassadors in foreign countries. Until five years ago, I was an NRI too. So having lived abroad, I have had first-hand experience of seeing how Indian culture has touched people of other countries.

A mini me clad in traditional attire in Lagos, Nigeria
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lived there with family for 17 years. There I studied in an Indian school and was surrounded by Indians right from childhood. My mum and me used to practice Yoga under the guidance of a Nigerian instructor. Ever since I was little, it was a family ritual to visit the temple every Sunday - and we have several temples there. Not only Indians, but we also had Nigerians join us in prayer service. Sitting beside us Indians and our resident panditji, I do not kid when I say that several local men and women took to the Bhagavad Geeta and imbibed its teachings. At the temple, we had a lavish langar prepared for devotees. Kadi-chawal, mithai and other Indian delicacies at the langar were cooked by none other than the popular Nigerian cook named Sabi. You would be left licking your fingers after you've devoured Sabi's dishes! It is difficult to believe but ever since I moved to India for work, I can count on my fingers the number of times I have visited a temple.

On Diwali, Indians were greeted by the Nigerian locals and they also knew this was a great time to ask for a bonus! In the society we lived and grew up in, all the Indian kids would gather in the evening and burst fire crackers and the Nigerians would gain much joy and thrill in bursting some fire crackers and rockets themselves.

I also stayed in Melbourne, Australia for two years while I was pursuing my Master's. My fellow batch-mates belonged to different countries - Thailand, Germany, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, to name a few. All of them knew of India's intelligent people and their hardworking nature. Melbourne's many Indian restaurants were always abuzz with non-Indians gorging on rotis and Butter Chicken. I even went to the ISKON temple there several times and each time, I spotted more Australians than Indians singing 'Hare Krishna Hare Ram'.

Whether you are a fan of Bollywood or not, there is no denying that the Indian film fraternity has played a crucial role in spreading Indian culture. Talking about Germany, this video is an absolute must-watch. Ardent German SRK fans have made their very own 'Kal Ho Na Ho' music video where the actors imitate SRK's every movement and face expressions! This is the biggest testament to the popularity of Indian cinema. Watch 'So You Think You Can Dance', and Bollywood style dancing is embarked on by competing dancers to showcase their dancing skills and expressions.

Indian music is being studied by foreigners too. Take this recent viral video for instance - Indian vocalists from Berklee College of Music sing Dil Se's Jiya Jale as their tribute to A.R.Rahman; apart from the goosebump-inducing vocals, it is also interesting and amazing to see a non-Indian flutist beautifully and skilfully play his version of the instrumental component of the song!

These are some snippets about my thoughts on how the world around us is becoming more Indian than we think. We should be proud of being Indian and protect our culture!

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