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Our Glaciers Are Dying – We Are the Main Culprit

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Our Glaciers are dying

You may think: I’m not living near the polars nor do I see snow, why should I care for the news? But here it is: The melting of these glaciers could be more dangerous than coronavirus and we are not prepared for this future – yet!

The glaciers aren’t dead yet. YET is the keyword here, my dear readers.

The glaciers in the polars are melting. This is a matter of big concern because anything that happens in one corner of the planet is bound to impact everywhere.

Since 1906, our earth has gotten hotter by over 0.9 degrees celsius. The polar regions have been the worst hit.

The result? We are experiencing the impact of global warming. It has resulted in speeding up the melting process of the glaciers and sea ice, and it has some far-fetched impact on the entire ecosystem.

An IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Special Report presented us a stark possibility – Up to 80% loss of glaciers in some areas by the year 2100.

Are we, as a society, prepared for the consequences?

Carbon Dioxide and Greenhouse Gases are NOT the only Agents Responsible

using fossil fuels has increased carbon dioxide emissions

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are significant contributors to depleting glaciers. But there is one more agent, which is more powerful than them, who is equally responsible.

And it is us.

Yes.

Our increased dependency on using fossil fuels has increased carbon dioxide emissions. For human-made sources, electricity is the largest contributor accounting for 37% of emissions globally. This is massive!

As per a recent WWF report, it is looking to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Anything beyond that will not only put the glaciers into a microwave but will also impact the entire life on the planet.

Also read: Turtuk – a Detailed Travel Guide to Offbeat Place in Ladakh

The Glaciers are Melting Like Ice Creams, Do You Know the Results?

The glaciers are full of water and ice. Imagine what will happen when they melt. There are some issues that we can perceive merely by visualizing the issue, but there are others that can be far more tormenting.

If the melting persists over the next few decades, some of the most populous areas may face scarcity of drinking water during the hotter seasons. It could also affect food production, biodiversity, power generation, and the economy.

Global water shortage
Image Source – World Finance

For example, 70% of France relies on nuclear power plants for electricity. The Rhone River, an outcome of the Rhone Glacier, is responsible for 50% of it. In the last fifteen years, the Rhone River has been twice hotter. Even the water level fell so low that the plants were shut down multiple times. 

Glacial retreats can lead to landslides and avalanches too. For example, Peru, between 1941 and 1950, experienced an array of glacial lake outbursts because of the pressure created by increased melting. July 2016 saw two avalanches because of glacier melting, resulting in nine people dying.

In 2002, the Kolka Glacier on the Russia-Georgia border gave way because of the melting water underneath. It resulted in an avalanche with a speed of 150 miles per hour that lasted a little over seven minutes accounted for over 125 kills.

Examples of Glaciers We are Losing

Here are some glaciers that have severely degraded in the last few years:

  • Montana’s Glacier National Park had 150 glaciers in 1850. Today, the number has dwindled to 25
  • The Himalayas, which has over 33% of Earth’s non-polar is warming up much faster compared to the rest of the planet
  • The largest glacier in Switzerland, the Aletsch Glacier, has retreated a shocking 1.7 miles between 1880 and 2009
  • The Furtwangler Glacier, a part of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, had shrunk to half its size in 2000 as compared to 1976.
  •  82% of glaciers in Western China have shrunk between 1950 and 2000

The Underlying Mechanism of a Glacier

Underlying mechanism of Glacier

A glacier comprises ice, snow, water, rock, and sediment. The water element is continually shifting down because of the pressure from other elements and its weight.

Presently, 10% of the earth’s land has glacier cover. It contains 75% of the earth’s freshwater, mostly in ice form during the cold seasons. When the temperature rises, it releases some water for plants and animals. With over 17% of the population living in the basins of glacier-fed rivers, it also gives them access to a clean resource for drinking and irrigation.

Be it the Himalayas, Antarctica, or those in our dreams, most of our glaciers are melting. Let us delve deeper to understand the underlying reason.

According to Joerg Schaefer, a research professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a glacier reacts according to the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Whenever its level rises, melting speeds up. It is like the debt cycle we often end up in.

We are in the Fifth Ice Age, but This One is Unlike the Previous Ones

As per records, the earth has hovered past five primary ice ages. Each such phase resulted in the expansion of the ice sheets and glaciers and had a long-term cooling effect on the planet.

Every single one of them was set off by the Milankovitch cycles (Earth’s orbit around the sun) and the movement of tectonic plates. These resulted in a mix of gases like Co2 and methane in the atmosphere and varying solar and volcanic activities.

In the present day, we are in a warm interval of the Quaternary Ice Age, the fifth such occurrence. Experts have often termed it as the last ice age, and it took place around 20,000 years ago.

Every such ice age lasts up to 12,000 years, and we are already due for a natural new ice age, but with humans tampering with the default conditions of the planet, it seems like a distant reality.

Most Prominent Impacts of Melting Glaciers

We cannot store water in our pockets just yet

Even though earth seems to be majorly water when seen from space, most of it is too salty for us. Even plants or animals cannot consume a major chunk of water content on this planet.

On a planet where only one-hundredth of a percent of total water is drinkable and renewable, over 70% of it is found in glaciers. In the tropical areas, the glaciers melt throughout the year and are often the only source of clean water for the habitat in the dry seasons.

One startling example is the Himalayan glaciers. These are the source of water for seven of the biggest rivers in the continent, namely Huang He, Salween, Brahmaputra, Ganga, Indus, Mekong, and Yangtze. These help in supplying water to over 2 billion people.

Without Glaciers we can not store water

But the fast rate of depletion has been worrying everyone. Countries like Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador rely on glaciers for their water supply and hydroelectric power generation. But the fast depletion has already started impacting the availability of water in these regions.

The glaciers of Kazakhstan’s northern Tien Shan Mountains account for over 75% of the region’s water supply. The hastened melting has instilled the fear of water shortage for over 90% of the population that depends on them for their needs.

Difficult to differentiate low-lying areas from the sea in a few years

The melting of glaciers at a faster rate has resulted in creating glacial meltwater in multiple locations on this planet. If these continue to expand, we may soon have to prepare ourselves for glacial lake outburst floods.

A UNEP study pointed out that 44 glacial lakes in Bhutan and Nepal can overflow because of climate change and cause disruption in everyday lives.

Low lying areas will go under the sea in few years

And it’s not new: In 1941, a major chunk of glacial ice fell into Lake Palcacocha. It resulted in a flood that killed over 7,000 people and destroyed the nearby areas. As per a recent satellite image, another such chunk is very close to falling in the lake, and the affected number can cross 1,00,000 this time around.

People in Nepal experienced something similar in 1985.

A flood at the Dig Tsho Lake killed hundreds of people and caused massive destruction of public property, including bridges, houses, and an almost complete hydropower plant.

Also read: Smart millennials – choosing solutions over religion & hatred

Seawater level is growing as fast as the population

The global water level is on a continual rise. Every year, it went up by 1-2 mm in the 20th century. Around 30% of it is because of the melting glaciers. With glaciers eroding faster than ever, the coastal areas are at tremendous risk of flooding, erosion, and saltwater destroying freshwater and aquifers.

Melting Glaciers Can Bring Something Worse Than Coronavirus!

We are piling on our problems. We don’t know about what lies beneath a glacier (unless you are Aquaman), but many scientists suggest what lies within is not what we are prepared for. The glaciers also house several diseases, and those could be much worse than the Coronavirus.

Also, these have pollutants such as pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals, and more. If the glaciers melt, human beings and every living being on this planet would be exposed to them. Disastrous is an understatement if the same happens. 

The Hopes Are Fading, And So Are The Glaciers

Glaciers are fading
Image Source – Science

Global warming is here. It may not be as impactful as yet, but it is taking the form gradually. Human-made emissions have led to a depletion in the ozone layer and have led to rising temperatures. Such an increase is directly impacting the glaciers. The situation is so bad that they are not even dying a slow death today.

Instead of merely playing the waiting game, governments all over the world should come together and formulate a meaningful pact.

The creation of global warming legislation, adopting green power, renewable energy, and undertaking a carbon-free world would relax the speed.

The world banks on the Kyoto Protocol, and we hope it comes into force soon. But in all fairness, it seems to be out of our reach as of now. All we can do is delay the inevitable by a few hundred years.

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Politics

Where Are the Actual Farmers in the Farmers’ Protest?

The protest is igniting a revolution. India is at stake in the global platform. But who is profiting out of the chaos? It’s time we shift our focus on the real farmers’ plight.

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Where are the actual farmers in the farmers’ protest

Farmers are the lifeblood of a nation, they say. Do you know why? Well, the reason is that they make a living by feeding nations with nutritious and vital food. But what happens when their livelihood is threatened?

Well, they are likely to protest the elements that are threatening their ability to make a living. And this is what has been happening in Delhi since November 26, 2020.

The farmers are protesting three laws:

  • The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act
  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act

And they say that if these laws are passed, it will adversely impact their livelihood.

Khalistan movement
Farmers protesting in Delhi

But the farmers are not the ones protesting

Reading that headline may have made you furrow your brow in confusion. But it’s true. The initial farmers’ protest agenda has indeed been hijacked.

The claims come from the central government itself. According to it, the ‘ultra-left’ hijacked the initially peaceful demonstrations. Then there’s more – most of the farmers are not participating in the protests.

Where are they? Well, they’re out working in their fields trying to make a decent living.

So who are actually protesting in Delhi?

Well, for one thing, women are participating vigorously in the farmers’ protests in Delhi. And so are Khalistanis and international celebrities. In fact, it’s the international celebrities who irked India’s government by giving the farmers’ protests global attention!

Many anti-farmer groups have also joined in on the farmers’ protests. The most noted incident occurred on January 29, 2021, when groups of unknown men approached the farmers and told them to leave.

Khalistan movement
Khalistan movement

Where are most of the real farmers?

Believe it or not, only a fraction of Indian farmers are actually in the nation’s capital protesting these three contentious and (they feel) unfair laws. Other elements like Khalistanis and transport unions have also ‘joined in on the action!’ They are the real ones who are making the ‘hullabaloo’ in the Indian farmers’ protests.

They have also been escalating these protests and taking them to the international stage.

Also read: What Happens Next After the Top Indian Government Companies Are Sold?

Why are Khalistanis agitating?

Well, Khalistanis joined the few farmers who were protesting in early January of this year. Many of these, like the ‘Sikhs for Justice,’ have been banned by the central government.

The ‘Sikhs for Justice’ is an officially recognized terrorist organization whose members are best known for violent acts in the name of agitating for a separate state of Khalistan.

This group shot to popularity when it offered the protesting Punjabi farmers monetary rewards for raising a Khalistani flag in Delhi – at India Gate. There is a dark side to the Khalistani agitation – many of the protesting groups are not Indian. Some are from Pakistan.

Part of the reason for them protesting violently is that they want a separate state of Khalistan. However, part of the reason for the protests is to defend the songs and statements of noted Bollywood and Punjabi singers and actors. One such person is Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu.

Why Punjabi celebrities are protesting with the farmers?

Why Punjabi celebrities are protesting with the farmers

Deep Sidhu wasn’t the only Punjabi actor to protest with the farmers. Punjabi celebrity superstars like Diljit Dosanjh and Gippy Grewal have also ‘put in their fifty cents!’ They have not been in Delhi protesting with the farmers. Instead, they have been active on social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube.

Their work has paid off. Many young people from around the world have joined to support the farmers. These youths were inspired by social media posts that read like “No farmer, no food.”

They have also been receptive to tweets like “farmers are our backbone” which asked them to pressurize India’s government to negotiate with the farmers.

Vocal Punjabi celebrities are offending the govt

Kanwar Grewal made a song called Ailaan
Source: YouTube

Kanwar Grewal is a popular Punjabi singer. He recently made and uploaded a song called Ailaan. It supported the farmers, but wittily. The Indian government felt offended by the song and asked YouTube to pull it down, and it did.

He wasn’t the only Punjabi singer to express his sentiments about the farmers’ protests through songs uploaded on YouTube. Himmat Sandhu Asi did the same with Vaddange. Ailaan and Vaddange are being noticed by the young Indian and global audiences. Ailaan alone got 60,000 views on Youtube before it was pulled down. The issue is that some songs posted direct threats towards India’s government.

Vaddange was uploaded in November 2020 and got a staggering 13 million YouTube views before it was pulled down.

Internal matters and external opinions – The role of international celebs in the protest

International celebrities have a penchant for getting involved in what they consider to be important social causes. This is especially true if these causes are in developing nations. Rihanna is one such popular American celeb who has voiced her opinion in the farmers’ protests. And we all know how that turned out!

She tweeted in support of the farmers’ protests, and the issue went global overnight; much to the shock of the Indian government.

A tweet meant to voice an individual’s opinion was met with severe consequences! A rather ‘angered’ Indian government took legal actions against Rihanna and other celebs who tweeted in support of the protest.

Rihanna is one such popular American celeb who has voiced her opinion in the farmers’ protests
Source

Was Rihanna’s tweet genuinely inspired?

The Indian media have been abuzz about Rihanna’s tweet. They state that since she is not Indian, her motivations were not genuine. Indeed, publications like the Print, the Indo-Canadian Public Relations firm Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) paid Rihanna $25 million to tweet to support farmers. The thing is that the PJF has links to (banned) Khalistani organizations.

Of course, the PJF has officially denied these allegations. However, there is evidence that Mo Dhaliwal encouraged these types of tweets from international celebrities and media icons by creating a social media ‘toolkit.’

The Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, landed herself in a ‘lot of hot water’ with the Indian government when she tweeted this toolkit in support of the Indian farmers’ protests. India’s government immediately responded by filing a formal complaint against her.

Discussing desi issues on a global podcast!

In another instance, Hasan Piker, a noted Turkish-American commentator devoted 10 hours of broadcast time to the Indian farmers’ protests on his live-video streaming platform Twitch. This platform is broadcast all over the world, so the entire world watched what was currently occurring in India!

Hasa’s fans were so inspired by his podcast that they made it viral

His podcast was an instant success, especially among younger Indian NRIs. Hasa’s fans were so inspired by his podcast that they made it viral. They wasted no time in uploading it on various YouTube and Reddit channels. They also were abuzz with activity on Twitter – his fans used tweets to communicate the gist of the podcast.

The Indian farmers’ protests have now reached American shores!

Yes, the Kamala Harris – Joe Biden administration is now taking an active interest in the Indian farmers’ protests. The American government took notice of the farmers’ travails in India when Meena Harris, Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece, voiced her opinion too.

Meena Harris, Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece, voiced her opinion

Meena Harris is the latest in terms of powerful international personalities and people to ‘poke their nose’ into the farmers’ protests and the farmers’ plight in India. She is a powerful attorney, and she lashed out against the Indian government in a big way!

She told the Indian government, “Don’t tell me to stay out of your affairs!” According to her, the Indian government’s actions and treatment of the Indian farmers who are protesting is unacceptable. She feels as though it amounts to the persecution of a religious minority and human rights violations.

This has prompted the Biden administration into action. It issued official statements to Indian government. The statement subtly highlighted the ‘inefficiency’ on part of the Indian government in tackling its internal issues, which has now turned into a global issue about human rights and freedom of speech. It suggested the government should sit down with the leaders of farmers’ protest and finalize a solution.

Only time will tell how the Indian government will respond to these and similar statements!

So where are the actual farmers?

The farmers were initially protesting against laws tabled by the central government that they felt were unfair. Now, the protests have been hijacked by powerful national and international interests and elements who have taken the issue to the global stage.

There are ‘elements’ hiding their own agendas behind this protest; diverting from the actual pros and cons of the laws in question, only wanting to trigger violence and disturbance in the society.

The protest is taking a new turn every other day. And the biggest losers are the actual farmers, who are protesting on the roads and still working hard on the field to provide nutritious food on our plates, so that the society doesn’t sleep hungry at night.

How fruitful are the protests; and now that Indian farmers have global attention, will it be favourable? Only time will tell.

We can only hope that this farmers’ protest doesn’t have a silent death under pressure. Because in the end, it is the actual farmers who would really pay the consequences of either decision.

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Health & Fitness

Digital Detoxing Is No Longer a Concept but a Reality

Can you live without a mobile phone for a day?

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Digital detoxing

Ever since the pandemic, a new buzzword has been playing around; “digital detox”.The sectors that were hit the worst, Tourism and Hospitality, were quick to pick up the trend, and tap on new-market gaps. They are promoting resorts that are technology-free, with new vacation packages, and day camps which makes people forget the digital world and live in the real world.

Individuals are getting dependent on the web and continually checking their digital devices when the notification chimes.

Some even blame digitality for separating us from reality. Because reality is way different than what is the perceived reality online.

Digital Marketer Sorav Jain addressed a very important question. He vouched that he practises digital detox and even ideated a challenge promoting a Digital Free Day. But can you afford to take a break when your entire business runs digitally?

Ah! How Innovation “Helped” Us

How innovation helped us
Source: Freepik

From the gas lines we use to cook food, the electricity that helps us light the night to the mobile phones that let us connect to someone miles away, technology is something that we see everywhere.

With the rapid digitization of content came the new drug, “social media”. A boon or a bane for the society? Well, the question is yet to be answered.

Social media lets us connect to the world. We can now see how humans act like apes just for the sake of publicity or the dance steps of a gorilla that we never saw in real life.

According to The Hindu, an average Indian spends about 2.4 hours daily using different social networking sites. The fact alone explains how innovation has destroyed the most important asset to mankind, Time.

The time that could have been spent doing recreational activities, is spent scrolling down Insta and Twitter feeds
Source

The time that could have been spent doing recreational activities, is spent scrolling down Insta and Twitter feeds, reading people’s opinions, and getting depressed over how they don’t have the same opinion as us. As a result, giving rise to discontentment in lives.

Also read: Technology Induced Poverty

People Would Laugh If I Don’t Know What’s Popular

The one thing that makes everyone adopt the trends of social media is the fear that they would be alienated by others if they don’t do so.

A rise in prescription glasses, cases of depression, and failures in work and study life don’t become problems when we are *cool* among a group of individuals.

And who defines this coolness? The number of followers we have on our social media life.

Arjun, an IT worker, after working his ass off for his company, finally goes on a tour. Now while on the tour, he keeps on clicking pictures, keeps telling people that he’s doing this, doing that, and spends all that time on his mobile.

After 2 weeks he’s back to work, the people asking about his trip stop texting him, and he’s an ordinary worker again, who instead of being refreshed, feels all haggard.

He missed out on savoring the street food, he missed out on enjoying the surrounding scenery that could relieve him, he missed out on conversations he could have had with strangers, missed out on making friends he could have met just for the sake of keeping appearances.

depression caused by technologies
Source

What was so important that Arjun, after working so hard, could not give up his mobile phone? The answer’s simple FOMO i.e the Fear Of Missing Out.

This is what technology is doing to us. Rather than loving ourselves as who we are, we project ourselves as something others will love. The fake us, who become hated the moment we say something that’s not accepted by society, and these haters are the same who claimed to love the dignified, perfect “us”.

Mind You, The Shrinks Know What They’re Saying!

The psychologists we normally refer to as shrinks – because of course, we cannot accept that something is wrong with our mental health – unless we start blabbering noises in the air. We live in our bubble refusing to accept what they preach that anxiety arises due to the excessive use of gadgets.

People are obsessed with their follower’s count, the number of likes their posts get, and the number of retweets. With the retweets, the obsession gives rise to anxiety which results in a fear of losing something we haven’t even obtained yet.

And it’s not even just the so-called *influencers*, to the reader, would you feel comfortable if your phone is left out at some feet away from you without a lock? Would you feel okay if you don’t check your phone when you get a notification?

The answer is there in your mind.

Consumed by Social Media
Source: Freepik

Forget The Blabber, Get To The Heart Of The Matter

Technology is both a blessing and a curse. It is the coin of transformation having both good and bad effects. 

It has made data recording easier; it has helped make information available to many and more; it has created a number of work opportunities for people including me, the writer of this article.

Even the social media *influencers* have benefited as they can promote different brands who pay them for their reviews. Artists can sell their art through different platforms. Authors have been able to get their work known to people who don’t even read.

So yes, the fact that technology has helped us alleviate our lives is undeniable, but the fact that it harmed us in many ways remains.

technology has helped us alleviate our lives
Source

Also read: Our Glaciers Are Dying – We Are the Main Culprit

Digital Detox is the New Rehab

In the beginning, it was already mentioned that instead of becoming a source of entertainment the digital devices have become a drug, an addiction that needs rehabilitation facilities to be free from it, and from this comes the idea of digital detoxing.

Digital detoxing isn’t a new concept; the process is very much prevalent in society. People go on technology free stations just to get rid of innovation-induced anxiety and enjoy life.

Indian parents are especially popular for taking their children’s digital devices so that the child can concentrate on academics. Now, we have no one to comment on that, but what we can talk about is whether completely getting rid of the devices is worth it?

Digital detox is the new rehab
Source

Let’s go back to Arjun’s case from above and think about it from a different scenario. Arjun goes on his trip, without his phone. Enjoys life, makes real friends, savors food and even falls in love!

But, when he comes back there’s a surprise waiting for him. Waiting on his office desk is his life-time soulmate, his computer.

Refreshed from his trip, Arjun is in full energy and has decided to work even more efficiently and when he opens his laptop, he’s bombarded with a horde of emails asking him about various things, and an end amount of work that he won’t be able to finish in the upcoming days at all.

So, was it worth it? Was leaving his devices and cutting off the solution? Well no.

Let’s Play Safe!

Digital detox is definitely a cure to the anxiety that arises due to the use of technology. And as popularly said, “excess of anything is bad.”

So let’s agree to disagree with the companies providing technology-free vacation packages and rather than having the third parties detox our lives, let’s keep the responsibility on our shoulders.

Detaching from advanced devices resembles putting our heads in the sand. It keeps us from asking how innovations are transforming us and whether it is to improve things or not. It additionally prevents us from recovering these advancements and repurposing them for various objectives and values.

Excuse of everythging bad
Source

Digital Detoxing Is No Longer a Concept But a Reality

The widespread concept of digital detoxing, when accepted as reality changes the way of viewing things. Rather than completely detoxifying, minimizing the use of devices on a daily scale is the way to go for rehab.

  • Deciding for specified time durations in the day during which the use of devices is strictly prohibited by oneself
  • Going on walks daily
  • Going grocery shopping rather than ordering everything online from home
  • Reducing the use of social media and increasing the number of conversation we have with our family
  • Limiting the use of technology access for our children
  • Switching off our notifications or just switching off the internet routers

All are methods of digital detoxification, just on a scale that won’t make our devices’ notifications go on a rampage and also help in keeping the selfie-induced anxiety at bay.

Digital detox is a method to detoxify the mind from the issues such as missing out on useless things, getting fewer likes, or just the fear of our devices laying far away from us by distancing ourselves from the world of the internet for specific periods.

A concept turned into reality, it’s high time, my dear reader, you too shut off your device, switch off the internet, and have a deep conversation with your family, friends, pets, or just anyone around you. You can talk and discuss just how beautiful it is to be alive in the real world.

Digital detox
Source

In fact, for the upcoming 6 months make a specific time zone when there’s no Instagram, no twitter, no WhatsApp, no Facebook. Don’t let your phone be the first and the last thing you see before going to bed. Do this, and you’ll slowly notice the change, the transformation you seek for.

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Society

My Experience as a Gujarati Student in the States

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experience in the states

Videsh is my Desh

“Oh, you’re from Gujarat? Are you a Patel?” I hear this at least once whenever I meet a new desi friend studying in Boston. I’m a Master’s student studying at Northeastern University, only about a few hours’ drive from states like New York and New Jersey, where Gujaratis are famous, or shall I say infamous as a community. 

While as an Indian, you’re probably being judged for coming and stealing jobs. As a Gujarati, you are known for hogging all the hotel and business franchises (Sub-racism within racism is a real thing, people!). 

Known for our business tactfulness and apparent Green Card greed, I can already read people’s judgment about me once it is made known I am from Gujarat. Having grown up in the states, I wasn’t aware people like me were put in a category or why people had to be stereotyped in the first place. Quite a few of my desi childhood friends and family friends are Gujarati, South Indian, Punjabi etc. and I never felt type-casted since the US is so diverse and colorful (quite literally), and you would never make any friends if you kept to your own community. 

However, as you grow up, you gain a better understanding of sociology and the way humans are designed to think and group people as per their experiences and mindsets.

Nevertheless, besides the judgment that comes with being a Gujarati in the US, I do feel proud of the work we do for society and the work ethic we are known to have. Besides that, it is indeed a luxury to have authentic mango aachar or readymade pani puris found at the nearest Patel Brothers store (or Bodega, as they say in New York). 

Also read: Should the Brain That Has No Boundaries Be Limited to a Textbook?

Any stereotypical discriminations? 

stereotypical discriminations
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I wouldn’t say I grew up in a stereotypical Gujarati household; my parents always made sure we were exposed to different people, cultures, mindsets, and places. That being said, there are things that come to me naturally as a Gujarati. Our love for food (especially sweets), our welcoming and happy-go-lucky way of life, our mindful money management, having references at every corner of the world, our funny jugaad tactics and so forth are just some many things that can be said to be a part of our genes.

At the end of the day, everyone is their own individual person, and judging someone based on where they are from, is a loss to many potential bonds that could be formed. Being open-minded and allowing yourself to be pleasantly surprised as your mind breaks the stereotypes society has so carefully engraved in you, is a truly satisfying experience. 

Speaking from personal experience, I live in an apartment with diverse people from all over India, of all religions. And the things we learn from each other daily are truly astounding. Over time, we have grown to be a family who respects and understands each other, something that every society in the world has been trying to achieve (probably since the time of Neanderthals).

My advice to international students 

Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

As an international student who is about to graduate, I definitely have some advice for other international students who want to study abroad in the future.

  • Learn to cook (more than just Maggie and Khichdi, you can’t have that everyday)
  • Network outside of familiarity (you won’t regret it)
  • You will be judged regardless of whether you are from the US or any other country (don’t take it personally)
  • You will learn to become truly independent and enter adult life (your parents will be super proud)
  • You are a work in progress (and your journey will not always be as smooth as you expect it to be)
  • Embrace new cultures, food, hobbies, and most importantly, people
  • Incorporate self-care into your routine to avoid burnout (it is more important than you think)

Also read: Truth Behind Gujarat’s Model of Development

Live life the way you want 

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Student life is amazing, the amount of growth you will experience is incomparable to other stages of your life. The world truly is your oyster, and you can aim for the sky and achieve what you wish to. I would just like to say don’t put yourself in a box, venture out of your comfort zone and don’t fear the judgement that comes with it.

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