Last Sunday, we went to Gateway of India that is built during the colonial period in Colaba, and something interesting happened. A crowd of people in Gate of India surrounds us and takes photo of us. Similarly, when we went to a school of Abyudaya for shooting, children in the school asked us to write down our names and email addresses on a piece of paper. This probably is because these people didn’t have chance to go to overseas, and they barely saw foreigners in their towns. Therefore, I’ve realized that I’m living in a country where has already gone through a globalization. I usually live half a year in the United States and in Korea for the rest of the year. While foreigners are often considered as norms in the U.S. since diverse ethnicities reside in the country, Koreans don’t show much attention to foreigners as much as Indians do. Therefore, being a foreigner in India gives me an impression of being a star in India because local people try to leave the evidence of seeing us by having photos or signatures.
Along with contrasting reactions of different countries to foreigners, I’ve noticed that there are some cultural differences between Korea and India. Indeed, even though India and Korea are both Asian countries, there is a much more cultural gap between Korea and India than the United States. There are numerous American brands like Cheesecake Factory and Jamba Juice in Korea, and Koreans never wear traditional clothes except holidays. This shows that Korea is much more westernized than India. Korea has economically become affluent through westernization, so the standard of Korean economy may be higher than that of Indian. However, I believe Indian cultural value is more appreciable than Korean because India is developing the country while preserving its tradition. For example, many Indians still wear traditional customs like Saree or Lungi for casual clothing, and there are always vegetarian and non-vegetarian options in American restaurants like Pizza Hut or McDonald. In contrast to what I think, Indians can think their country has already been westernized. In my point of view as a foreigner, I believe India is not underdeveloped but less westernized than the countries I come from, and I admire the way India maintains its identity.
Mumbai, the city of economy
Indeed, India economy is drastically increasing, and Mumbai is an economic capital city. Colaba is one of the rich areas in Mumbai, and two grandiose buildings we saw last Sunday literally represent the wealth of Colaba: Taj Palace Hotel and Ambani’s Mumbai residence. The two biggest companies in India are TaTa Group and Reliance Industries that built those buildings. First, TaTa Group has seven business sectors ranging from engineering to energy. Jamsetji Tata, the founder of TaTa Group, ordered to build Taj Palace Hotel responding to racial discrimination. Tata was once refused to enter a hotel during the colonial period because he was not European. Some people claim that he first banned Europeans to stay in Taj Palace Hotel in order to revenge them. Moreover, Reliance Industries operates five major segments including retail and telecommunications. The chairman of Reliance Industries is Mukesh Ambani, and his house named Antilia is reputed for being the most expensive house in the world. The magnificence of Antilia can be predicted by the fact that his family is living in a private 27-storey building. Reliance Company has relationship with Bollywood because Anil Ambani, younger brother of Mukesh Ambani and the chairman of Reliance Group, is one of the largest producers in Bollywood film industry. Furthermore, there is an Indian biographical film Guru based on the founder of Reliance Group, Dhirubhai Ambani. Hence, I recommend this movie to people who would like to find out how Mumbai has become an economical capital city.
The poster of Guru