That Indian Girl

I recently kicked off a mega attempt to chase my travel bucket list. I was in Northern Ireland exploring Game Of Thrones shoot locations across Belfast and Dublin and realised that the thought of an Indian girl travelling alone freaked people around. They assume we are shy, timid, lack adventure and my enthusiasm was shattering their stereotypes.

According to me the best part about travelling is the people you meet and the emotions you stir. Here is a conversation I will remember for long, I do not hold a grudge against any nationality but this incidence was a stark reminder of how people have such high threshold for hate within.

Location: Dublin

Temperature: 5 degrees with cold showers

I was waiting for my airport shuttle accompanied by tourists from every corner of the world, waiting to get on a flight and head back home. I noticed an asian join the que, he seemed restless but I assumed it was travel anxiety. It started with a causal conversation about the places we visited, bollywood, his shock on a girl travelling alone so far and extended to where you belong from, I said I am from India to which he replied with a grin ‘I am a Pakistani’. It made no difference to my life and I continued talking.

There was no point in the first 10 minutes that made me uncomfortable but suddenly he came really close and told me in a commanding tone “When you go back to your moolak’ (your country) tell your government to stop attacking our border and drop the Kashmir issue for good because we are only one missile away from India” . His audacity scared me, his hatred towards our people stunned me and his guts made me extremely uncomfortable.

I missed the 26/11 terrorist attack at CST, Mumbai by an hour. On getting back home, I switched on the television I saw the same platform full of blood and dead bodies, that feeling was disastrous and this conversation gave me a similar chill.

This man is a doctor by profession and teaches in a medical college, I am assuming he has travelled the world and has seen enough to not have a biased view but nothing mattered. I am worried for a nation that is being mentored by fanatics. I usually hold a very non confrontational stance towards religion and nationality, this article isn’t about India V/S Pakistan but I truly feel that their youth are being misguided. Their focus towards aggression could ruin everything for themselves as well as for us.

He made me feel unsafe in an absolutely safe environment, that is seriously dangerous. He may not represent an entire nation and I am sure there is a large chunk of people who disagree with his sentiments but he does stand for a considerably prominent section that is educated, well travelled and has seen enough to misguide the not so fortunate ones in his country.

I did not confront him but its my duty to respond now — Mr. Kaif, I wish you get back to your country and tell your students about a nation that is doing so much more constructive by nurturing their future generation and giving them the hope and confidence to dream big. I wish your students are given chances to build something more positive for themselves as well. Patriotism means different things to different people, for me it represents a feeling of progress and I am glad to be ‘that Indian girl’.

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