Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The 'Local Effect'

Lately, I have been thinking or rather comparing the lives of people in different countries. Being in such a big country like India, one mostly gets chances to travel within its own boundaries. And that leaves a longing desire in many to go out of the country once in the lifetime. But to think of it more seriously, why does one want to travel abroad? For many, it adds to the status quo. For a few, it’s the desire to see the people and places in some other part of the world. But whatever the reason may be, there is a desire to visit some foreign land in Indians.
I study at a college which is more than 1100 km from my hometown. Similarly, I am at Gurgaon these days which again is more than 1100 km from my home. So, doesn’t it bring me across people and landscape very different from Bihar, and that too in a country with so much of diversity? Yes, it certainly does. While Roorkee lies in the foothills of the Himalayas, Gurgaon is the corporate hub of the National Capital Region (NCR). And both of these places are way too different from the place where I come from. But despite all these, I am still in India, the same country.
Now think of smaller countries which are smaller than any of our eight metro cities. There are many countries (Liechtenstein, Monaco, Seychelles etc.) in the world where the population doesn’t exceed 100,000. Similarly, many countries (like Monaco, Nauru, Tuvalu etc.) are smaller than the city of Delhi when we talk in terms of area. So, how do people in these countries manage their daily affairs?
I travel once in every two months out of Roorkee on an average for different reasons. Considering the same situation for people in these countries, do the people need to get over with visa formalities every two months? What if the need is to travel the same day or just the next day? Do the people need to plan in advance even for travelling 100 km or even 10 km sometimes?
For some time let us not talk about these 'city countries' and think of countries in Europe which are very much equal to the state of Haryana or Uttarakhand or Bihar in terms of area or population. So, how do people travel there? Within the small geographical region compared to that of an Indian province? But then, there is the European Union which makes moving of people for trade and other purposes very simple within the continent. But what about the countries which are not part of the EU? Or which are in other continents like Asia, Africa, and South America.
There are countries which don’t enforce barriers on the entry of people from some neighboring countries like there is unrestricted movement of people between India and Nepal. And there must be other provisions and facilities provided by the governments in these countries so that people can move easily from one nation to another. The king of Sikkim (when Sikkim used to be a sovereign state) used to send ‘bright’ students to India for studies on its own expenses. But there must be some local adjustments which people do and become used to anywhere in the world, be it a small country or a big one. And thinking of these local adjustments excites me a lot sometimes.
Living in Gurgaon these days, I have to travel about 15-20 km daily, for work, on city buses. And it looks quite okay and comfortable. The same travel can be very painful if it were at my hometown. For the last two Sundays, I am going to Delhi to spend the day which means around 50 km of travel. This much of travelling for spending a weekend is not considered to be an option in Dalsinghsarai (my hometown) or Roorkee (where I study). Similarly, I have been quite used to with frequent power cuts in Gurgaon which seemed to take a blow on me in Roorkee.
While these ‘local effects’ come with the town or city or village we live in, these effects also come with the localities and the neighborhood we live in. The place where I live in Gurgaon doesn’t have good general stores. So, I have adjusted myself such that I get my needs fulfilled some other way rather than relying on the stores in my area.
And last but not the least, are not our thought patterns affected by our family, our friends, our co-workers and other people living around us?
Though there is very small control of ours on the local effects associated with each place, the most beautiful thing about these is that these are the things which determine who we are. Don’t they?

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