Where is the warm Indian welcome?

US-based NASA astronaut Sunita Williams is in the city as part of her India visit. The renowned Indian-American astronaut, who holds a number of space records in her name, is hugely inspirational especially for women and the younger generation.

One can see a hunger, a flame in kids eyes as they dream of exploring what is known as the final frontier — space. Sunita’s visit can only kindle those fires into a blazing furnace. It was evident yesterday, when she visited a working women’s hostel in Chembur that just her presence was enough to fire up imaginations and motivate people, to break through their barriers, whatever they might be.

It is vital then that we welcome Sunita warmly but maintain discipline even within all that enthusiasm. Yesterday morning, it was a jamboree as media persons along with others went on a photo frenzy and people gathered there, could not see Sunita as a result of all that crowding near the dais.  Let visitors feel the traditional Indian hospitality and warmth but let us not overwhelm them with indiscipline and frenzied receptions however good our intentions are.

Unwieldy greetings tend to sully the occasion for both the guest and people who are hungry to hear them speak, imbibe knowledge and what can be a great learning experience fizzles out disappointingly. Sunita’s stature and achievements deserve all the adulation and respect she gets, but unwieldy behaviour at events, takes away from the occasion. Let Sunita and in fact, all visitors experience the warmth of a traditional Indian welcome. Not the push ‘n’ shove experience that unfortunately, India has come to be associated with. 

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