Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | January 18, 2013

People

One interesting aspect of moving to New Zealand is meeting people from different countries. Even though my office is much smaller in comparison to any Indian office I have ever worked, I have met people from Israel, South Africa, South Korea, Zimbabwe, Russia, Croatia, Bosnia, Germany, Scotland, US, Fiji, Japan, Mongolia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, England, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Pakistan, Iraq, Samoa, Tonga and of course New Zealand through my office. I may have missed the odd country but undoubtedly it is an experience in itself to me.

In fact, only after moving to New Zealand, I learnt that I am actually known to the world as a person from the sub-continent or South Asian not an Asian!! You will be surprised to know how little people know about each other even though internet and television were supposed to bring us lot closer.

Indians (and Bengalis in particular) are prejudiced about certain things and we don’t shy away from making comments about people (often derogatory without proper evidence) – so meeting people allows me to change certain misconceptions that I have about others and also hopefully provide an opportunity to the other person to understand an Indian better.

What is the need to learn about others? I don’t know about others, but then I am curious. I find it interesting to observe people, hear them talk about how they have grown-up in their own countries, how different if at all their views are from me. And then there is this fun aspect such as watching a football match with an Argentinean and English or perhaps trying to decipher whether American football or Australian football should be called “football” or not with an American, Australian and an Englishman.

I still cannot manage chopsticks, or differentiate between Asian communities as I would like to but I am trying. I feel ashamed that sadly I don’t even know so much about different communities within India! Someday probably I will end up knowing.

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