Have you seen this TVC by Lufthansa Airlines? It embodies the true ethos of India and reflects its growing and ever-glowing global influence. Though the spirit of India is portrayed in a humorous way, this TVC very wittily tells how the whole world appreciates Indians’ energy and enthusiasm and want to beat their winning stride by following them in their silly yet simple ways. The protagonist, the coach in the TVC says, “If you want to beat Indians, you have to think like Indians, relax like Indians, eat like… play… dance… and fly like Indians!”
But that’s not possible according to me. Because we Indians are simply unbeatable! No one can beat us no matter how much effort they put into or up to what extent they go. As, if you think, dress, eat, dance, play or do any other stuff like we do, you become like us. Your heart intermingles into ours. No matter what country you belong to, but you become the inseparable part of us and even gradually become #MoreIndianThanYouThink. Then there is no point of beating Indians when your heart beats for India. 😇 🇮🇳 💓 Despite the humor put into the concept of this TVC, the essence is stark yet grave, i.e. the hospitality of our country which makes it distinct from others.
And there comes a time when boundaries fade and we become global despite our distinct ways. I call that process ‘Indianization’ and those people, ‘Transformed Indians’. I know such a lady who fits into my paradigm of ‘Transformed Indian’ and gives me a sense (and strength too) of India’s significant global impact.
She is a child-woman. I’ve never seen any entrepreneur of her stature as simple as her. She is the owner of a Norwegian shipping company, who has inherited a multi-billion business from her father and running it with her expertise.
But why I’m writing this post about her is surely not because of the aforementioned reason, but for her love and affinity for India. She’s Ms. Berit Bergshaven. She is a citizen of Norway but an Indian by heart. She visits India every year during Oct-Nov for business purpose, but her main motive is to witness and attend the great festivals of India like Navratri, Dussehra & Deepawali.
She thinks like an Indian— I remember I first met Ms. Berit Bergshaven in 2002, 15 years back. I introduced my daughters to her and she showed keen interest in their Sanskrit names. When I uttered my younger daughter’s name “Anindhya“, she looked perplexed for a while, kept quiet for some time and said,
“Un-India? Why have you named your daughter with an anti-Indian name?”
Then I let her know the right pronunciation and the meaning of my daughter’s name that Anindhya, in Sanskrit, means ‘the one beyond criticism, flawless and perfect’. She smiled and said,
“Oh! That means, your daughter represents India, as India also is beyond criticism, flawless and perfect.”
The way she interpreted India was indeed the best description of our country I had ever heard from a foreigner. Her love for our country is not only shown in her words or ways but is deep-rooted. She is intensely influenced with our culture, mannerisms, beliefs and values.
Berit celebrates like an Indian— follows all the rituals during Indian festivals when she is here. Right from lighting lamps during inaugurations to burning crackers, making Rangolis or sporting Heena on her hands, she shows enthusiasm in all the ceremonies and customs with a child-like glee on her face. She relaxes like an Indian— Unlike other foreigners, Berit refuses to stay in five-star hotels and resorts, rather chooses to live with her employees’ families so that she could know about the real lives, happiness and agonies of people residing in small homes with lesser facilities. She’s not the one who runs after the ‘Brand India’ showcasing ‘Yoga’ for the sake of lifestyle, but truly appreciates an Indian woman’s manner of staying fit by doing household work. And yes! She definitely knows how to ‘Namaste’! 🙏 😉
She dresses like an Indian— Her drapes and gossips are more Indian than you think!
Berit understands drapes, be it a saree or a dupatta, though she could hardly get a saree which covers her 6 feet tall frame. When in India, she’s either seen in a saree or other clothes made with Indian handloom. The moment she discerns beautiful Indian wear, she without fail, asks for the details. But why I call her more Indian than us, is the way she carries herself. She can carry a heavy Banarasi or Kanjivaram saree with optimum savoir-faire yet adds the touch of Indianness in every soiree like us.
And yes, she too gossips like us! 😉
“Sanjeeta (me, Sangeeta), don’t you think yellow doesn’t suit Deepa? Shouldn’t she try some other color?” 🙂
…. or, similar talks! Once, she even suggested me a Rajasthani drape. Her ‘seedha palla’— ‘ulta palla’ talks make us wonder how an eminent business woman like her can talk like an ordinary Indian woman. That’s why I call her a child-woman.She eats like an Indian— Being from the Scandinavian origin, Berit’s taste buds can’t stand strong Indian spices yet she loves savoring them. Once she chewed a round red chilly mistaking it as some veggie, while eating sambhar. I remember how her face turned red and eyes filled with tears, yet she finished her food till the last morsel. I offered her soft drinks and chilled water to sooth her but she refused and said,
“Wasting and disrespecting food is considered bad culture in India and I have learnt not to waste a single grain from this land only.”
…. That day I learnt that lesson which I couldn’t from my elders that too, from a lady who was neither born nor brought up in India but surely #MoreIndianThanYouThink.
I am dedicating a Hindi poem to that lady who, to some extent, is more Indian than me too. 🙂
समय को रोक आगे बढ़ कर
सपनो को मुट्ठी में भर कर
मेरे देश की मिट्टी में मिश्रित होने
को सदा जो आतुर रहती है
वो मुझसे अधिक भारतीय है |
अपनी संस्कृति की सुगंध लिए
भारत को ह्रदय में बांध लिए
पश्चिमी हवा के झोंकों सी
मेरी हवा में जो घुल जाती है
वो मुझसे अधिक भारतीय है |
Berit is a Norwegian but she thinks, eats, dresses, celebrates, dances, relaxes and does everything like we, Indians. However, she doesn’t want to beat us, rather want to be a part of us. And I have seen a little hidden part in her heart, where our India beats and she is indeed #MoreIndianThanYouThink. 😀