Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | August 23, 2008

Here you go..

When we reached here, we found out the best way to live is perhaps to get used to the culture of the place and appreciate it. It is on individuals how they would live their lives but no point criticizing something about which we do not have any knowledge. I shall try to explain this with few examples. I know, most of the “heritage gods” in India hate the way women dress in foreign lands. Most of us- the boys and men we don’t hate it but we are disrespectful towards it in a different way. Trust me, it did not take me long to find out that it doesn’t look vulgar at all the way women dress here. I mean it is so natural and the way they carry themselves that you would wonder you witnessed vulgar dresses in shopping malls back home. As a man, I can tell that the disrespectful or may be dirty side of mind doesn’t operate when you become one of the local person out here – which I am now. I feel why there was this dirt in our mind which wears the veil of morality.

I feel ashamed and sorry to the entire world that we always thought differently and yes were a little disrespectful without really any knowledge.

This is not the only perception that we held. Mostly we feel, we are the ones to who family matters the most or may be we are ‘gods of love and romance’. It is not true. Here family values are different to the way we perceive it to be. Family lunch and get together are quite common exercise. Here, elderly people get or rather feel old at a much later age because they don’t shy away from physical work. This is the reason why neither they depend on their children to take care of them nor their children think of them as their liability. It is a very individualistic society where everyone takes care of their own. Most people are self-sufficient and old people spend lot of time in the libraries or community centers. Not everyone leave their parents to die (which normally we get to hear in India), but there are frequent visits. Government takes special care for senior citizens with discounts in every place and also recommending work for them. Since here there is no concept of household help and drivers people have lot to do even at home and simultaneously pursue their hobbies. This keeps them mentally and physically fit.

Of course, each country and its citizens have their problems but public service institutes help people to lead a stress free life. That is what makes a country beautiful. In India, that is what we lack most. Auckland city council – the local government body (much like our Kolkata Corporation) functions as a service organization and one has to visit them to understand what I am trying to say. City council not only runs, libraries and schools but also has counseling center where they advise you on any problems that you may have living in the city. These advise centers are has volunteers who are senior citizens. We went to the advice center today morning and it was unbelievable that the lady spoke to us for so long on topics that did not have any direct bearing to us. You feel happier visiting them. Surprisingly, city council is also responsible for keeping the city clean, construction etc. Things are not smooth here because the population is low but things are smoother because people have the intent to do things properly. Imagine approaching the Indian city municipalities to do some work for you. We in India take pride in our eroded culture of corrupt politicians and queue up to elect them – just to allow them to cheat us consistently!

Auckland City Council library and many other things will occupy space in my next post, very soon. Now that, I have started I shall hope that the next post shall come quickly.




  1. I am reading eagerly, and waiting for more before I write a comment here, Tanmoy. Keep going!

  2. i completely agree on a lot of things that you said Tan. However, i must say we ourselves are the culprits for our so called bipolar living. The mayors of our states are elected through a huge political charade and in the end it becomes politicized. Anyways, too sleepy to comment more…cheers

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