in the middle of March I had the chance to visit the city of Toruń, to attend a culture and travel festival about India, Mexico and Ukraine called Festiwal kultury podróży Światopogląd.
The festival was divided into three blocks. India on the first day, followed by Mexico and then Ukraine at the end. I was one of the three attendees invited for the event. Besides me, there was an Indian living in Warsaw, and one from Poznan. I had the chance to talk with Sargheev from Warsaw in Malayalam, my native language. We are from the same state of Kerala in India. That was very special. Anshu who is from Poznan, is teaching at the University of Poznan. Just like me, both Anshu and Sargheev have found their second home in Poland 🙂
Besides us, there was also travelers from Poland, who shared their stories on the stage, about how it is to travel inside India, and what were some of the things that surprised them. They shared with the audience slides from their travels, and videos from their trips to temples, and important places of interest like Humpi (a Unesco world heritage site), or the golden temple in Amritsar(the holy place of worship in Sikhism). The attraction of the night was Katarzyna Grochowicz, an avid traveler from Poland, who travels around the globe with her son Kajtan. He has been to Indian many times. It was amazing to hear how hard it was for Kajtan to see kids sleeping on the streets in India, and how India turned out to be a cultural shock for him, the first time he visited the country with his mother. At his young age, he is so fortunate to have traveled extensively to India, Morocco and other countries along with his mother. I could see that Kajtan was a very mature person for his age. Those travels have definitely given him a better understanding of the world. Very few kids can call themselves this lucky like Kajtan.
As part of the festival, each of us Indians were invited on stage to speak a few words about how it is to live in Poland. I was totally at ease, and was even able to tell some funny anecdotes. Thankfully the audience got my jokes and they laughed. Vert often i use humor to break the tension 😀 Good old trick of mine.
At the end, we even had a small discussion panel with us Indians and the polish travelers. We were asked questions about women rights in India, and about how to build more tolerance towards people from other cultures in Poland. It was a fruitful 20 minute discussion, where each of us expressed our opinions and experiences.
take a look at the video from the festival-
I am glad that i was presented with the opportunity to attend this festival. At least once, twice a year some people ask me to attend events like these, where I can talk a few words about India and our traditions and way of thinking. Last year I had the chance to give classes to primary school kids in Wrocław about India. I think events like these are very dear to me. I love travelling. On top of the that, its a good medium to educate people about different cultures, and make them a little bit more tolerant towards people of different backgrounds. That is fascinating to me. Small things like this make it worthwhile to be alive on this planet. It gives me sense, in a sometimes very nonsensical world.