When I was a school girl, my father got an offer for deputation in Assam, which he accepted. During the discussions in the family, somebody said,” Why do you need to go to Pardes(foreign land)?” (Probably the word was used as our family belonged to M.P.) I strongly objected to the word “pardes” saying, “Why are you using the word Pardes? Assam is our own country!”
During his stay in Assam, my father told this incidence to an IAS officer, with whom he was sharing the Government guest house. Upon hearing this, the officer said, “when you go home next time, convey my “Namaskar” to your daughter.” When my father conveyed his message to me, I could not understand why a “Namaskar” was needed for a simple statement.
Today, when I see our countrymen fighting and spreading hatred in the name of regionalism, it pains a lot. Now I understand, the feeling behind the “Namaskar” conveyed to a schoolgirl by the gentleman.