A Competitive Community

Indians are competitive. We are competitive in every possible thing that we can be.

As a child, I remember the competition to get the best grades. Later, it was SAT scores and colleges. After that, it was careers. Then came marriage and children.

It was also happening within the community outside of our Indian one but it was definitely amplified within it.

It didn’t matter if we were in the top 10 of our class in our school, we had to also to better than the people we were growing up with (or at least comparable).

I’m positive that there is always some talk about who is married and who has had kids and who is a stay at home mom and who is a working mom. There’s definitely competition in who has the best wedding and the most original wedding and the most expensive wedding.

This competition exists in whatever we do. I’ve experienced it heavily in different dance companies. The crazy thing to me is that I honestly believe we limit our potential as a culture if we compete.

We want to be able to share how wonderful the Indian culture is with the world. But how can we do that when we try to keep each other down? We want to involve and encourage as many people as possible.

So the question becomes why? Why should we encourage others in our community? What if they are our competition for schools and jobs? What if their business competes directly with ours? Won’t it hurt us?

In my opinion, no. I’ve seen the discouragement and disappointment of a competitive community and I’ve seen the amazing community that people can build if they have each other’s support. In the long run, everyone moves forward if we work together and lift each other up. Maybe, just maybe, India with its billion of people can have more of a presence world-wide. We could enter in the Olympics and have more than 4 people. We could be more than a side-note in the entertainment industry (especially since India makes the most movies in the world). We could build a great, progressive country that is respected.

I honestly believe this all starts at home. Build each other up. Encourage each other. Help each other move forward.

Inspiration

Has anyone else ever wondered why there aren’t more people representing India in the Olympics? India has over a billion people and another who knows how many around the world. How do we end up going to the Olympics with maybe 30 representatives?

We watched an Indian movie this past weekend called “Bhaag Milka Bhaag”, literally meaning “Run, Milkha, Run”. It was about Milkha Singh who participated in the Olympics in the late 50s, early 60s. It was such an inspiring movie about a man who found a way to make something of himself even though he had lost a lot when the partition happened in India in 1947.

I really hope this movie inspires others at it has inspired me. I hope that the kids growing up in India realize that they do have the opportunity to really do something great in this world if they just put their efforts into it. I don’t want to assume anything, considering I don’t live there and don’t know if part of the reason that Indians don’t have a great presence in the Olympics is due to politics or money or some other reason unknown to me.

I have two little cousins who are maybe about 10 years old that have been born and raised in India. Both of them are fantastic swimmers and have been winning competitions as long as they have been swimming. I know at least one of them has her heart set on participating in the Olympics one day. I can only hope that this dream does come true and we get to cheer her on in a few years.

So why doesn’t India have a more dominating presence in these international games? I know they do in some sports (I’d like to say namely cricket) but what about everything else? We can’t possibly have no one who can compete in swimming, track, gymnastics. Are people in India so caught up in becoming actors or models that sports just isn’t as important?

I look forward to the day where the country of my heritage can be competitive in these international forums.