Wishing all the readers a very happy Indian Republic Day and Australia Day! Last two years we went to watch India V/s Australia cricket match around this time. This year 26th Jan being a midweek holiday, we did not have anything special planned but to spend quality family time.
I have been planning to write a post on a few humbling experiences from our life so far in Australia. But I thought I must preserve it for this very day as a dedication to this beautiful country on its national day.
When we went to a beach during our vacation, we kept our belongings on a mat and all four of us got into the water. Abbas asked me to go closer to the crowd but I was feeling more comfortable to stay away from them and enjoy privately from a distance. As we played in the water, we saw a lady approaching us and I felt that she was coming towards us to say something. She came and told us that there were a few girls who were swimming close to the spot that we were at and they had to be rescued because of a whirlpool there some time back. She suggested us to come to the other side where there were more people. Abbas did give me an “I told you so, you didn’t listen to me” gyan, but that’s for another day. What I’m trying highlight is the kind gesture of looking after other people for humanity’s sake. This is just one of the examples we have experienced.
People respect other people’s privacy and never poke their nose into other people’s business unless in situations where one might need help. I can’t express in words how empowering it is to wear, speak, or do whatever you want to do without a single pair of eyes glaring at you, forget about judging you. I have witnessed couples engaged in high-level of PDA in trains but my co-passengers had no reaction whatsoever and I felt as if I was imagining things in my mind and that nothing was probably happening in reality. This country makes me feel free to live the life that I want to and I would never be judged on my choices
I am always in awe of the way people speak with so much respect. Forget common people, I have witnessed authorities with power like the police, transport officers speak to people that they have caught in acts of crime or based on suspicions with utmost dignity. This behaviour totally blows me away as I am used to powerful people abusing their supremacy to treat the subordinates like sh!t. During my visits to government offices, banks, post offices, medicare centre, supermarkets, shops, restaurants, the way people are greeted every single time and asked “How are you?” never fails to bring a smile on my face.
Adhering to rules:
Be it traffic rules, elevator etiquettes, boarding and alighting public transport, using the elevator, following rules is like second nature to the people here. It makes life so much easier for everyone, isn’t it? Abbas and I were astounded to know that this country did not have traffic police. We wondered how was the traffic was managed then? We now realize that there is no need for a supreme power to manage you if you can manage your responsibilities by yourself. People make use of the garbage bins, they make sure that they use the public properties like electric barbeques, restrooms, showers etc in parks or beaches with utmost care such that the next person succeeding them gets these facilities in the same condition as they did in the first place.
We were impressed by the kind of trust people have on one another here. My office has this lolly box which is filled with candies and whatever money is collected by selling those lollies goes for charity. Now there is no person physically selling them. They just place a box with a piggy bank and a note saying 3 lollies for $1. And people put money in there and take the lollies. The box gets replenished every week or so again. There are stalls on highway that sell fruits, flowers, eggs, manures etc with the cost of the commodity and a box to leave the money. This kind of faith was very unusual for us before migrating to this country.
Remembering an instance when Mantam’s school bus came to the station and dropped the kids off. Most parents picked their children but one young boy couldn’t find his. Mind you, this bus is not the school’s private bus but the usual public transport that plies students during that time. The bus driver could have easily left the place without giving a damn about the boy but he chose to wait there. Seeing that, two other people, who were around, also came in and started talking to the boy, ensuring that he is calm and does not get worked up. Curiously I waited there too worried about the kid. All these people waited for atleast 10-15 minutes till the child’s mom reached there and they left with relief. There have been so many instances where random strangers chipped in to help elderly with their luggage while boarding or alighting from trains. Even simple things like clothes left for drying fell from the balcony and someone bothered to hang it using a hanger near the garage. Once Tammu’s dupatta (she dressed in Ghagra choli for multicultural day) went missing in the morning while walking to school and in the evening when I returned home, I saw that someone had nicely folded and tucked it on gates close to the footpath. Not only for humans, they care for their animals too.
There are always exceptions to all these attributes I mentioned, which is natural. But in general, these qualities are very much tangible in day-to-day life and we always feel thankful for it.
Leaving you with some memes about life in Australia in general for fun
Picture credit: Meanwhile in Australia FB group