India: You know, that one, single, homogenous, ever-invasive bully-country that strode across the seas and snatched up many many jobs from the nice US economic systems that existed, and strode back across the seas smirking and proud?
That’s much of the image I guess I’d been creating in my head, by the turn of the Century, before being burdened with any actual information whatsoever.
Then, at Legal Aid, they had National Geographic magazines in the lunch room, and one day I read all about the caste system. And felt superior accordingly.
A while later my daughter (she was around 11-12 yrs old at the time) came across ‘Bend in like Beckham,’ and she really wanted us to watch it. I resisted strenuously, having already seen a number of kid-sports movies, and really not feeling like that Indian gimmick was going to work for me.
Finally, exceedingly reluctantly, quite a while after it came out, I gave in. And loved it. Loved the story, the characters, the setting a little bit even, and Loved the Music – especially the Indian music.. I really think looking back that it was the music as much as anything that prompted what happened next.
We found another Gurinder Chadha film, Bride & Prejudice I think, and watched that – loved it as well (the disconnects didn’t bother me at all at that time). And then What’s Cooking. And then another Aishwarya Rai film. And then, tip-toe-ing in.. another suggested one from Amazon. This was before I was on Netflix; and if I still had cable at that point, I hadn’t found any Indian content there (if there was any), hadn’t found iTalkies – was buying one film, then another. Came across a couple I didn’t care for much at all, and just about figured I was done with all that.. then saw Aamir Khan’s Lagaan. And a very long, rich journey was officially launched.
Today my film tastes are forever changed – I’m more used to having subtitles on than off, because even when I do watch American things, sometimes there’s a cultural dialect or it’s independent and the sound is muffled now and then or whatever. I really enjoy the emotion (and music still) of Indian film, the multi-genre aspect historically, the playfulness and other specific choices often made, the rich character focus, and the details such having a line at the end either replicate an earlier line (coming full circle) or completing a pattern etc…
I’ve learned that there are many languages, multiple regions, close to 50 major cities, a tapestry of rural communities, sophistication and intelligence and subtlety and every other similar attribute to infinite extents; right along with and within all the opposites and deficiencies that are most everywhere in various mixtures; many strengths for the rest of us to learn from and much to enjoy and celebrate.
I don’t know if I have any ancestral relationship to India, and probably never will, but my current country (US) certainly has been much richer for it’s existence, with the Civil Rights movement and many other aspects. Also India and one of my countries-of-origin – Ireland – certainly share a great deal historically.
And after all that, as far as India’s effect on financial services, I mainly put that to entities within the US. Changes were inevitable, they didn’t have to be implemented the way they were.
So I’m happy to have started learning about the global neighbor and friend that is India, and am looking forward to including Indian food (which I also love), music, and film as well as democratic struggles and so much more the rest of my life.