It’s 9.30am on a bright and sunny Sunday morning in Sydney. While it’s tempting to be lazy and stay in bed for as long as possible, it’s probably the worst thing you can do in a city like Sydney.
I’m on my weekly run across beautiful Coogee Beach, just three kilometers from AGSM. As I run across the beach-walk I can’t help but notice a group of Australian folks doing something that was invented in India.
“Inhale, upward facing dog. Exhale, downward facing dog. Take three breaths here and then walk or jump your feet forward”. Yoga by the beach, now that’s a temptation I can’t resist.
Just 90 minutes later, I’m in an Aussie café having an early lunch with new friends who share my passion for yoga. They come from across the world: Germany, Argentina and of course Australia.
After lunch I take the leave of my friends and tell them that I’m walking back home, only to be coerced into taking a lift back with one of my Australian mates.
Now, if you ask me whether Australians are racist or unfriendly you can expect to hear an emphatic “no”.
Contrary to what most people think, Australia happens to be a very diverse country given its size and small population.
Australians also happen to be one of the most well-traveled people in the world and in all my interactions so far, they’ve always been intrigued by the fact that I come from India. I’m often quizzed about which city I come from and more often than not the Aussies I meet have been to India at some point in their lives.
So what do I make of reports like these
and how do I react when my friends, family and relatives call me from India and ask me if I’m safe?
Well, I feel surprised, perturbed and sorry. Perturbed when I hear people say stuff like: “We should start beating Australians in India”. What basis do people have to make such statements? Just a few reports by Indian news channels that want to make a quick buck by broadcasting outrageous statements.
If you spent some time here you’d realize that educated, well-traveled Aussies couldn’t be racist even if they wanted to. Not all Aussies are white-skinned and blonde: I’ve met Aussies who are darker than me as well as the blonde ones and they have been the friendliest and most helpful people I have ever known.
There are definitely groups of people in Australia who maybe racist, rude and unfriendly but that’s true for any country in the world. If a thug wants to rob someone I’m quite sure that checking the race of the person would be the last thing on his mind.
Blaming the whole country and its citizens for random incidents that happen in a particular city is certainly an over-reaction.
I could go on and on about my positive experiences at AGSM and Sydney, but I would rather refer you my previous article where you can see a picture of me and my “Indian” friends here in Sydney.
(The Author is an MBA from AGSM,UNSW,Sydney and Kellogg School Of Management, USA. He is also the Founder and Editor of DelhiPlanet Media You can follow him on Twitter @kirtidhingra)