I was told this story by an American traveller named Mark. Mark was a 68 years old software engineer/consultant by profession and he denounced all his worldly possessions to wander around the world. After visiting Latin America including Argentina and Guatemala, Thailand, Vietnam etc, he reached India. He stayed in India for almost 6 months. Most of this period was spent in southern part of India. I asked Mark about his Indian experiences. What did he like in India? or What attracted him the most?
In reply he told me this story.
Mark was living in a seedy little town near Chennai in Tamilnadu (he did not remeber the name). It was an autumn morning. He thought of taking a stroll on the beach and came out of his accommodation. When he reached the beach, all he could see was the piles of garbage scattered all over. That part of beach was used as a dumping ground by the townsfolk. As a result the scene was quite filthy. Mark was appalled by this sight. He was treading his way around the garbage strewn shore, then he saw one teenaged boy approaching him. He came closer and said the usual things Indians ask when they see a foreigner in their land. As if they will then point out the country in the world map and say Eureka ! I did it !
Hello, how are you? Where are you from?
Mark : Hello. I am from USA. Nice to meet you.
Then the boy and Mark started walking together. They talked over many things from India to America. The teen wanted to become a software engineer.
Then out of nowhere, the boy pointed out towards the seafront and said:
Look at this. Isn’t it beautiful?
He was admiring the rising sun and the sea waves touching the shore. Mark was amazed at this sudden declaration. All he could see was piles and piles of garbage, and this boy was able to see something beautiful at the same place. He was touched by boy’s point of view.
Then he told me. What amazed him the most in India, is people’s point of view or how they look at things. Indians can see beauty within the so-called ugliness. They can see light in darkness. They are able to find their way in the oddest of situations. And that makes Indians interesting for him.