The Indian Dream

This post was voted as the winner of Blog-a-Ton, the Blogging Marathon in its Third Edition in October 2009. To look at the final results, click on the award-badge below.

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 3; the third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
Dream? What dream? Indians don’t dream. We are too steeped in our selfish reality, trying to survive from one moment to the next, to even think about the luxury of dreaming. 

I was walking slowly down the broken, wet road, wrinkling my nose at the garbage dump on the side of the road. That’s what the country is coming to. A broken road and a smelling dump. 

Next I would have to jostle and shove, along with the others, if I wanted to get on the bus within the next hour. Then I would have to stand in a god-damned queue in the passport office, to wait for the manager to start harassing me. Then on to the market, where it is mandatory to look down, a practise. Not that you are forced to. But if you don’t, you may end up cracking your head, after all the markets are so clean. Do I know how to haggle or be shrewd, because if I don’t, I’ll be pauper just buying fruits and vegetables. If he even gets a whiff that I am a  foreign-based Indian, which I am sure he will, get more than a whiff that is, I will be stripped. After all people in India smell money from a long way off. But then, it is not an easy feat to rank a lowly 74 in the corruption index.

This is what India is. Self-serving, rude and uncivilized. 
Suddenly a kid shot across my path breaking into my recriminations. I swore out loud, “Watch it, kid!” 

Arre, uncle, aapka mobile, gir gaya tha” [Uncle, your mobile, it had fallen out] The kid was dirty, wearing only an equally dirty shorts but grinning ear to ear. I stared. Mechanically I took out a five-rupee coin and pushed it into his palm. He ginned even more broadly, “Arre, Saab, bhagwan aapka bhala kare!” [May God bless you, Sir] And he ran away. Did that boy actually bless me?! A beggar-boy who returned the phone, fallen out of my pocket but blessed me as I gave him just a fiver? I shook my head, and smiled, “Ludicrous.” 

I reached the bus-stop. The usual crowd, without any order, was there on the look-out for the bus, each man trying to get ahead of the other. I took my place after an elderly bespectacled lady. I missed the first bus, in the usual commotion, I hadn’t fought hard enough. I raged at no one in particular, “I needed to get on that bus! I am in hurry, damn it!” The old woman turned around, and peered at me over her glasses. I braced myself for the reprimand to come, I knew that look very well. I was not wrong. She croaked,” You in a hurry, so you should have said before! All young people are in a hurry! Why, I ask? To get old?” Her next words, however floored me, “Come on, you stand before me, I am not in a hurry.” Before I knew it, she was shoving me and another guy, a college-going kid by the looks of him, ahead of her. 

The college-kid laughed, and struck up an instant conversation with the lady. The next bus came. I got on the bus and turned around to see whether the lady had been able to get on the bus, with all the jostling going on. She had. But only because that college-kid had waited to hold the pushy crowd at bay, while she did. Come to think of it, even the crowd looked less pushy. The kid got a seat for the lady in the ladies’ section and went to stand at the back of the bus. I stared back and forth between them. Rare species. 

The passport office was just as to be expected. All commotion and no work. I checked the handwritten placards, and made my way to the correct table. The officer lounging in his chair, was chewing tobacco with a fellow chewer,  who was half-sitting on the table.

“Sir, my passport is being renewed, and I should have got it by now. What seems to be the problem?”, my irritation got better of me, when I knew a flattering approach works better in government offices.

The man on the table turned halfway to glare at me, chewing ferociously. But the man in the chair sat further back, if possible, in his chair, and laughed rudely, “Always in a hurry.” That made it twice in one day. “Can’t wait to leave, huh? It is not easy to get your passport the moment you want it, understand?” Then he looked at me from the corner of his eyes and said, “Of course, if there was some incentive…” He let it trail. I saw my chance to get back on the field. Without thinking, I pushed a five hundred rupee note, and lied blandly, “Yes Sir, I need my passport renewed as soon as possible, you see, my mother is ill and I have to take her abroad.” The second man sat up straight. Before the first man could take the money, he pushed the note back to me and said, “Tell me your name, I’ll see to it.”

My passport was promised to me in five business days, my hand was shaken all around the office, and that man clasped my hands in his and said, “Your mother will get better, son. Try not to worry. It is because we have sons like you that India is still one of the greatest countries of the world.” And he hugged me. For the first time in my adult life, I was ashamed. Of lying. Of cheating a corrupt official.

My day was not turning out well. In every step, my beliefs, my ideas were being challenged. No, my ordinary day was turning out everything but that. I did not know what to do when I reached the market. Maybe the vendors will turn out to be God too.

The vendor was closing down for lunch when I reached. He grumbled but acquiesced. I bought all that was in the list and paid more than I should have, because I was in no mood for bargaining. And because subconsciously I wanted to prove my notion of this country true. It was petty but satisfying. But some force had other plans in mind.

The vendor closed down after me, and we walked out together, when suddenly the vendor turned right. Towards the line of old men and women squatting on the footpath. “They are not beggars”, he told me, “But needy.” I was rooted to the spot, as I saw the vendor who fleeced me a few moments ago, distribute them rice and pulses. At the end of my tether, I snidely remarked, “Aap toh sab Bhagawan nikle.“[It seems you all are God] And he quipped, “Nahin, Sahab, hum sab Hindustani nikle.“[No, Sir, we are all Indians]

That was enough for me. I looked nowhere as I half-ran back. This is not my vision of India. Warmth, caring, human values. People, even abroad, take the absence of these for granted. Where were the selfish, rude and corrupt people? Where was the backward India? Today was not the Independence Day or Republic Day, where did all this trove of feelings come from? Had it all been there? Had I been the one blind all along?

I got back home in a trance. Baffled, at the end of my wits, I told Father all that had I had seen, done, leaving out nothing. “…It was as if, Dad, I was transported into some alternate universe.” My old man smiled and said, “Arre puttar [son], not alternate Universe, what you saw today is India, where resides the heart of Mankind.”

I was still reeling. I was having an epiphany here.

Economics, globalization, technology, education, developments one after the other, the India I knew, was behind so many. But I realize, it’s moving too, slowly may be, but it is moving. Today I saw why. The people. The people who may not have a lot, may not know a lot, but they convert it to a lot.

Population, corruption, lack of education, poverty, pushed back and trodden upon, India has lost much, forced to become selfish, but the ancient values are still there, dormant maybe but there, in each of us, somewhere. It is only in India that they think of the others. That people feel, that they look out for each other, even in this inconsiderate and self-seeking world. After this, what else can be too difficult? What we have to do is try. All we need to give is Time, and the effort, the effort of Indians like me. Because everything said and done, everything good, bad and ugly about India, we, Indians, not only have the head but the heart as well. 

For the first time in my life I was proud of being an Indian. And it was time to give something back to the country. 

I went back to my room and stared at the application of citizenship on my desk, before tearing it up.

Dream? What dream? We, Indians, don’t just dream. We can make every one of them come true.

P.S. Inspired by a true story.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

About Guria

An Artist in Science: A Misfit 'cause I choose to be one. "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform" And a Maverick, because, I'm... umm... brilliant?
This entry was posted in BAT, Causes, Contests, India. Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to The Indian Dream

  1. Beautiful Post.

    Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back to move forward ; when you brace back and take a moment, you do see these acts of kindnesses percolating into the hearts of strangers all over our country. We just need to take a breather from the constant finagling to get a shade ahead of our competition and enjoy the moment..


  2. Hey sreya,, that was inspiring.. I literally got goosebumps after reading it.. love it.. all the best


  3. narendra says:

    comment what comment?Indians dont comment..they live the comment..

    well sorry for spoiling your lines..i thought the opening and the ending is so so similar to what I do..hence i like you 🙂

    i hope there were less criticism here,i mean i hoped there was a less scope for criticism in us…

    but we dont dream,we work to see it happen..

    have a nice time..:)


  4. wow girl.. that was amazing.. toooooo good.. have no words to describe.. “We, Indians, don't dream. We can make every one of them come true.” – looooved this statement a lot 🙂


  5. Mustaf says:

    This was very inspiring while reading. I dont know whether it is Gandhijanaynti or what, but the same feeling I am seeing being echoed in so many places in the past few days in almost all the blogs I have visited. May be we are running too fast, if we could just take a step back and see around, we can see the brighter sunshine. I remember once i was cribbing about India to one of my friend and he said “still there are more good people than the wrong one,that's why the country is still moving.” May be it was ultimate optimism or just the reality, but i could not speak further…


  6. Mustaf says:

    and yes, if we could just practice what we are preaching about, at least if half of us can do that, what a wonderful place it would be..sigh..


  7. Guria says:

    To Everyone

    I have written this not as criticism but as an eye-opener.
    We always dream for ourselves but crib about what this country couldn't give us. Have we ever paused to think that what have we given to the country.
    And then the saying “the other side of the river is always greener”… it is what makes us miss the beauty of this side of it. Why moan about what we don't have and demean what we have? We can achieve a lot if only WE try, and not leave to the others to do it.



  8. Agree totally with what you have written girl.. Why not appreciate what we have and try to improve it, instead of telling “this country has no future”!!!!


  9. Antarman says:

    Just loved it ! This is the way to go !..I also say the same thing that we are people with a heart, plus if all the youth start leaving the country then who will bring the change..this is our home, our country and we are only responsible for whatever stage it is in.


  10. Chetan says:

    good one, and truly the incidents mentioned were touching
    nice post


  11. aativas says:

    Any reality has multiple sides.. you have described it very nicely. Enjoyed your post!


  12. Sourav !!! says:

    Touched ! This was the better side of being a Hindustani ! And corruption index is not made out of vendors, beggars, the common man's conscience .. we would have been in a better place, if it would have been. Have been through such experiences too but there is the other side too; I've lost my mobile phone in a bus, after an accident we all wait for each other to call for help, we don't think twice before playing with sentiments, etc etc !

    Moved by your post, wish you all the luck for blog-a-ton, hope the best wins and the best is you ! 🙂


  13. Srivatsan says:

    That's India!:)


  14. Dhiman says:

    Yes this post is an eye-opener of sorts but what you know for Passport Office story out of 4 times that I had to visit for renew/or get a new one only once it happened without any “bribe” so we can say there are good people around in this country, more or less is a matter of perspective ….


  15. Guria says:

    Everything, every small, big, important, trivial thing has two sides- a good and a bad- and it is up to you which side you see. I chose to see the good side, not ignore the bad but dream of upholding the good, taking inspiration from the good such that the bad is barely discernible, or becomes trivial.


    Thanks Everybody for your thoughts and words. Appreciate it.


  16. Yellow Tulip says:

    very inspirational dear:)…loved the way u had described:)…


  17. Shankar says:

    The first paragraph itself was so true and soon as i read ur first eyes started searching for comment box… So let me read the remaining post..

    lol..yes they do smell money even if its a km apart..

    wow… the passport office thing was good… Dont feel ashamed.. you should be proud that you fooled a corrupt official..

    the last two lines are also true and it feels good to hear those words at end..

    simply a great post guria..all the very best to win blog-a-ton…


  18. Thats a inspirational post..and the pic is the icing on the cake!!!!


  19. harsha says:

    really nice post, liked it a lot.
    I am the Indian Dream
    good one 🙂


  20. contrast well displayed … Specks of humanity in this almost inhuman world.
    We can always see them .. its upto us to ignore or rejoice them !
    an important thought … well documented.


  21. Shilpa Garg says:

    Very captivating and inspiring post! 🙂


  22. Hey Sreya

    i am “under attack” since last night.
    Attacked by HIGH FEVER.
    Slept the entire day(almost).
    Too sick and tired to write anything.

    Just turned on the computer and was very very very glad to see your comment on my blog( ONLY ONE TODAY).

    May u win this time.

    God bless.

    Cheers and i will do those lovely tags soon.


  23. pawan says:

    This is by far the best post I have seen on Blog a ton 3.
    The presentation was mindblowing, couldn't resist admiring u!

    All the best!


  24. Wow…Sreya…i am speechless.

    i have seen jingoistic Indians, i have seen pseudo-nationalist Indians,i have seen fake nationalist Indians…….

    BUT……very very rarely i come across Indians who properly understands the spirit of India and its people….and u are ONE OF THEM……..i am PROUD OF YOU….

    i have an aussie friend living in India ….she says there is more meaning to life in India… very true.

    God bless u.



  25. Daisy Blue says:

    Hey nice writing… loved the pace…Yes proud to be an Indian 🙂


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  27. Harini says:

    Wow! Thats was really, I mean really wonderful. I would better leave it to that :).


  28. R S V says:

    a captivating post….
    Interesting I am going through a very similar situation…passport and stuff..
    till now I have already donated 5000 bug(ck)s and my agent says I need to offer some more..

    btw the post is on my final screening list..


  29. vEnKy says:

    Sreya i may end up voting for, i have 3 people in my mind and you are one of them. What a write unbelievable dudette. you rock.


  30. HaRy!! says:

    I'd really consider this as an eye opener!! thanks to blog a ton for choosing a very gooood topic rite on the eve of Gandhi Jayanthi!! so many brilliant ideas and stories…inspiration was awesome as usual!


  31. soin says:

    why isnt called the indian plan..its much better i gues.


  32. I especially like the post script.


  33. Shruti says:

    I was reading the posts in order of the entry in blog-a-ton! So am late 'Better late than never'
    Everyone said everything!
    post by GURIA!
    Do i need to say anything more?

    All the very best!


  34. Guria says:

    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you


    I cannot say that enough number of times.

    All I know is: “What we think, we become” and I tried to think of what is and what can be. After all, “we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are”. The change starts at home.

    Dreams -> Thoughts -> Words -> Action

    Many Smiles to You, ^_^



  35. Hey Sreya

    Thanks again.
    Feeling much better now.
    All those medicines i think worked.

    Again, it felt so good reading ur comment.Surely, i will write on this topic…but i need some time.College starts tomorrow…..i dont think i will go.

    Now a funny thing, i clicked on your “Mission Gre 2009” blog…..the header image says:

    “MISSION GRE 2009 To Fabulous LAS VEGAS NEVADA”……hahahahahahahaha

    Cheers and THANK YOU for all your kind words.


  36. AFter reading the first few lines i was about to jump to the comment section to oppose u, but i thought u may have had a reason behind the constructive i continued and finally u made me ahhhh…:)

    Nice summary and yaa we indians not only dream, but also work to make the way forward fr them..


  37. Singh Amit says:

    Awesome post 🙂

    “Because everything said and done, everything good, bad and ugly about India, we, Indians, not only have the head but the heart as well. “
    VERY touchy lines… 🙂
    Best of the luck from my side.. 🙂



  38. Neha says:

    sreya, amazing write up…wish people start thinking like this, then our country will shine for sure…attitude is all we need to change…all the best gal…


  39. Just a clarification:

    i wrote:

    “Now a funny thing, i clicked on your “Mission Gre 2009” blog…..the header image says:

    “MISSION GRE 2009 To Fabulous LAS VEGAS NEVADA”……hahahahahahahaha”

    It feels as if, “Mission GRE” is some kind of “mission” to go to Las Vegas…


    as if, you and your friends are giving GRE so that u guys can go to las vegas….haha

    Hmmmm….now even i want to give



  40. Love post!! It was really written very well. I agree with u that we are a nation with a heart too, n thats wht differentiates us from others. We should really value whatever we have and its our duty to give back to our country which has given us so much without even questioning us!


  41. And that if you ever go there, we'll be waiting to give you a warm welcome

    Your friend it seems is a great guy.

    But unfortunately i dont drink beer….but…hmmm….may try it if he makes arrangement for tons of barbecued chicken….hahahaha

    Do ask him for this……i am pretty shameless when it comes to food……lol


  42. so sweet and true!
    I agree with you.
    All the best for blogaton.


  43. Beautilicious post! It is only in India they think of the others! Otherwise why would many of us who joined blog-a-ton think Indian Dream is all about Dreaming for India and not Dreaming for Ourselves 😀 The best blog-a-ton post I read so far 🙂


  44. pra says:

    Loved your post! You discovered a true India with this Indian dream!


  45. Aditya says:

    This is one of the best post I have read on this topic. I am not talking just about the content and the opinion, But I am talking about the flow of words, right from your mind in the form of sentences, meaning exactly what you meant them to be-thats called excellence. 🙂


  46. Guria says:

    I am honoured beyond what I could tell you. Your words have made mine worthwhile.

    Again there are no enough number of times that I can say this


    If I could get across what I wanted to, to even one mind, my write has been a winner!

    Thank You, again. 🙂



  47. Vipul Grover says:

    We, Indians, don't just dream. We can make every one of them come true.
    Yo.. i second that:)

    The first part of the post irritated me, the words were harsh and they pinched my heart; but then the second part applied the soothing balm on those wounds of a proud Indian.

    What a way to involve the readers in this ride. Gr8 idea and gr8er execution.. All the best 4 d voting:)


  48. Hey Sreya

    i am back to normal now after few abnormal days…thanks to God and thanks to those kind words of a certain Sreya…and yeah, i did go to college… i was quite tired of sleeping and doing nothing.

    You wrote:
    Your blog really hates me. I get 8-lettered words for verification sometimes. Most of the times, it is longer. 😛

    Hahahaha……you are so very wrong.Its a result of too much love for you from my blog.Those eight lettered words make sure that you stay in my blog a little longer. Just see how smart my blog is……

    Cheers and May God help you win.


  49. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


  50. Anonymous says:

    “Inspired by a true story” ?

    Inspiration for just the post or yourself too ?

    I see a GRE-2009 with Vegas plastered on the banner like I.Pundit said. If that's still on cards, isn't this a tad ironic ?

    You writing about how someone who decided to chance his luck in India while you want try your hand at the Vegas strip ? Nothing wrong with it if you are upfront. But applauding staying back in India as inspiring when you are making a bee-line for America seems hypocritical..


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