Friday, May 15, 2009

Serendipity - Life in The Land Of Smiles




The Land Of Smiles .... As the phrase suggests, it truly exists in a country like Thailand... It is as true as the beauty that she exudes in every form and manner...........

Apart from the natural beauty that is picturesque and serene, by which the entire world is enamoured, it is the beauty of the beautiful minds and of the rich culture that holds more value to me and I am completely smitten by (I don't mind if I am percieved as such).... Having lived there for about 5 years, so much I have gathered and learnt. Every moment I have experienced that I keep reminiscing very often, brings a smile back to my face.... A smile that exudes my serendipity of having had the opportunity to live the life that harbours there.

When I speak of the place (such as the city of Bangkok) to my associates, who either have learnt about the place from some source or have had the opportunity to visit as a tourist - I relive the life when I hear them speak eloquently and volumes about the beautiful beaches, the classy hospitality that begins right from when you are warmly greeted to take your seat in the Thai Airways, the profound ettiquettes they follow, the various and innumerable occasions that they celebrate with zeal, pomp and grandeur, the various small and big shopping arcades where one can just simply get lost in awe by the huge collections of goods of every kind - some very very affordable or reasonable and others that are expensive if one chooses to go for the branded ones, the food that encompasses delicacies from all over the world... you name it and it's all there ! - without compromising on the quality and ethinicity of each, the cleanliness and hygiene even while one savors on the food being instantly cooked and served at the array of road-side piazzas, the well maintained public transport system- the air conditoned and non- air conditioned buses, taxis of different bright colors, the tuk-tuks (autos) and off course the luxurious cars (BMWs, Merc, Hummer, the smart Mini Coopers, SUVs of all kinds) that zoom past by every minute, the traffic rules and regulations which one can never disregard and does not despite the traffic congestion nobody honks!!! - it is insulting if one does so...and the cheapest and the fastest mode of transport running through the city, transporting thousands are the boats that speed through the canal - that itself is an experience by itself...etc, etc....... all of which is so true that it still amazes me.... It is a country which holds a lot more than the pubs and the much talked about trades that involves fornication.... I am sure it exists everywhere, so why speak about just that with the very mere mention of the place? !... I not only fail to understand but it hurts me deeply...... I console myself by making myself see the fact that, not many have had the opportunity to live a life there and for years together, and thus, they cant help but just see the 'glitz' , the 'glamour' and the 'easy availabilty of services that one can enjoy at affordable prices', that attracts so many billions of tourists all round the year.... True, the choice is ours, but it would be unjust to malign the nation of blowing it out of proportion...
I am sure if one has the desire to know more about the life, the culture the people there, it would be an overwhelming experience.
With keen observation, I have watched the life there minute by minute, thanks to my Dependent Visa that did not allow me to work unless later I was absorbed as a consultant and did freelancing... Coming back to my observations, I may try to narrate a few incidents that will remain very close to my heart... each of which has given me a tremendous learning, and I hope I have been able to imbibe all the virtues that touched me very deeply and help me emerge as a better human being....
The King's prayers to his fellow people....

When we had just landed in Bangkok and I was getting used to the new life there, the nation was struck by the Bird Flu, something that I heard of for the very first time then... We tried to keep ourselves abreast with the measures that the nation was taking to. Tourism had gotten affected due to the scare that had affected the minds of the aspiring visitors like an epidemic and the economy there was facing a crisis of a grave nature.... One evening while we went to dine at the Mall Ram, just opposite to the Petchtip Appartment where we were residing, (an off shoot of the Ramkamhaeng Road)... we settled ourselves with some delicious Thai ciusines such as the Khao Pad Gai, Khao Man Gai, a non-veg preparation with roasted cashew nuts, Chicken and Fish Steak (yes we did not refrain from eating chicken) and Chilled Pepsi with nám-khăeng (ice-cubes- a must topping when cold drinks are served).... we were watching the television that was hooked up to the pillar in front of us....... the Thai news channel was on.... thankfully the english sub-titles were scrolling by for the 'farangs'(as they would call the non-thai people/foreigners) to comprehend. We saw the honorable King giving a speech to the masses in Thai language, about the ways to beat the economic crisis and the ways to retain the tourists... and he said (per the english subtitle).. " If we have adorned a smile in the past to welcome the beautiful visitors to our country , then we must now do so twice as much to make them comfortable in every manner.. it is our foremost duty and the onus lies on each and everyone of us to keep them happy as long as they are here...." ... and there was this huge round of applause in the Mall that not only resonated within, but it still resounds in my mind.... I was overwhelmed. How simple a thought, but so profound as this.. that He honored us as his valuable visitors and asking his fellow people to take care of us in the best posible ways they could !......... something I have experienced in all truth and honesty from every Thai people I have come across at any given point of time till date... they did live upto their King's expectations... they worship him like God, respect him like the Father of the Nation.

Truly the Land Of Smiles it is......

I pay my Earnest, Profound, Heartfelt and Humble Respect to the King Bhumidole.. may He Live Long !


More of my experiences in my next series of blog.......... (as I desire to keep it short and simple for your convenience in reading )

2 comments:

Rick Ray--Internet Entrepreneur said...

You can imagine the "smile" on my face when I opened your latest blog to see that you have written about Thailand! I resonate with everything you portray about this country. When I came here, I thought I would stay for a 3 month working holiday, but I never went home. That was 20 years ago. Thanks for your refreshing article.

Gombhira said...

Thank you Rick for your valuable comment. With my mere 5 years of life there, I have so much to speak about. I can very well imagine how much you have in store to share and I am more than sure that I would resonate with your thoughts and I feel exteremy happy to express my love for the nation.It is my 2nd home by all means. I wish to go back someday and be a contributory factor to the society there, which has given me so much to take back. I just feel Lucky....
my 2nd post on the Thailand will be up very soon. Hope you will like it too...

Thank & Best Regards