I had a rare opportunity of traveling to USA for a cultural exchange recently. The opportunity was provided to me by Rotary International. The opportunity was rare because I along with my team of 5 was supposed to stay with few families there and get a glimpse of their life style and share our life style. I thought this would allow me a new view on America. Yes it indeed did give me a new insight to that country.
whenever, I would think of USA, I used to think about high rising buildings, fast phased life style, busy people with little time for anything else than their own life. To explain it in one word, for me, USA was always New York! First time I visited USA was to visit New York to attend the film festival which screened my film, Gubbachigalu (2008) but this time I had the chance to travel to the other side of the country. Washington State, Idaho and British Columbia (in Canada)
The life style in these parts was very different than my imagination of USA. One of my hosts was Barry Bacan and Shelley family in Colville. A beautiful little city with about 35000 people in it! For me coming from Bangalore with 7.2 Million people, this was a real tiny city. However, the city was big enough. During our stay at Bacans’ place, the family had to travel to Washington DC for some urgent work. So Barry asked us to stay on and feel comfortable. I was surprised. They hardly knew us. But still they were opening their house open for us! They had a beautiful house with many valuable things there. Barry asked us to leave the house open when we left. I was surprised. I asked Barry, how do you trust people so easily? Haven’t you been cheated? He is a man of few words. He just smiled and told me what would anyone steal from us? Our piano may be? I don’t think anyone would do that. I have never locked my house for years together now. The answer was really shocking to me. I didn’t react.
Barry and Shelly went to Washington DC on their work. After a day’s stay, we left to continue our journey. I was constantly thinking of Barry and Shelly and their trust in community and in society at large. Both of them are very silent. But extremely warm at heart. They have dedicated them self to the society.
I was reminded of the father from Le Miserable!