02 May 2009

My China Visit

My brother-in-law is with Tata Consultancy Services and was till recently posted in Shanghai. He had been telling us for a long time to visit him there. He was living alone there in a large flat which he had taken on rent. He had all the facilities to host several guests.

So when our elder daughter completed her tenth exam last year and had two months of vacation on her hands, we took our sala at his word and accompanied his family to Shanghai.

It was a memorable trip. I will have a lot to write about this trip in this blog, beginning with this small post about first impressions about China.

This visit was a few months before the Beijing Olympics was to start and luckily for us, a few days before the devastating earthquake that hit China.

We visited Shanghai and Beijing only. Beijing was added to our itinery because we would have become laughing stock in India if we had returned without seeing the Great Wall of China, a portion of which comes very near Beijing. Also there were excellent train connections between these two cities. The trains were similar to our Rajdhani express, but with much more plush interiors and infinitely less crowd. Probably the Chinese don't travel much internally, or are not allowed to do so.

These two cities of China are light years ahead of our Mumbais and Delhis.

However, I don't know what the situation is in the inner regions of China. From what we could see through the train window of the interiors of China, we didn't notice the kind of abject poverty that one can see during a similar train journey in India, say between Delhi and Mumbai.

We were in China with a troupe of our children (three families, six kids, ranging in age from 3 years to 15 years) and everywhere the Chinese would look at the children with amazement. Some even got themselves photographed with them! The one-child norm that has been stringently enforced in China has evidently left deep psychological scars in many Chinese.

The Chinese have invested a lot in their people and their life expectancy, child mortality rate, literacy rate, etc., are way ahead of us.

We have a lot to learn from the Chinese even though they have been mostly hostile to us since our Independence and have cultivated the friendship of our neighbouring nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal and have instigated them to cause trouble for us.

Language is a great problem in China as no one speaks English. So is food, especially for strict vegetarians like us. We had to carry home-prepared food everywhere we went, which was a great dampener.

Luckily in Shanghai we could locate a Punjabi family who supplied rotis and sabjis to Indian families. We availed of this service on several occasions.

In Beijing we also found an Indian hotel run by a Sardarjee which had first rate Punjabi food. For several days we had been subsisting on bread, milk and fruits and we set upon the fare that he produced like persons starving for several days, which we were.

1 Comment:

sm said...

nice post

हिन्दी ब्लॉग टिप्सः तीन कॉलम वाली टेम्पलेट