Open Minded

Image result for image open mind

Throw the word open minded at me and I will start talking. Or writing in this case. Funny enough I just got called out by a friend of mine following a FB comment I made about traveling to India.

It was a comment following the news that India’s tourism minister has warned female tourists to not wear skirts “for their own safety” while visiting India. My reaction to it was short: Why would you want to travel to India, supporting an attitude like that?

I totally understand my friends reaction when he told me how surprised he was about my rather narrow minded attitude “considering the beauty of the country, the nice people and the good food”, especially coming from an expat. Oh, I give you that point, my friend. Not without further commenting.

Now, yes, I do believe that as an expat you have to keep an open mind. After all you move country, you have to adjust and you might live in a place you struggle to understand how some things are handled. But you simply have to go with it. I guess moving to Australia was one of the easiest moves as an expat as their system is so very close to what I grew up with. So my adjustment was probably not as big as it could have been moving to another place.

I guess being a parent is another reason for keeping an open mind, being able to adjust to changes in your life, meeting people that will influence your child on the way, meeting their friends, taking them to activities they chose. Being a parent teaches you that not everything will go according to plan.

Being open minded is one of the things I try to achieve. It’s one of the things that I try to teach my children. It’s one of the values I like us all to carry close to our hearts. And yet, sometimes I realize that I’m not. I realize that I’m narrow minded. Just like in the case of my comment on FB.

I agree, I’m narrow minded when it comes to India’s attitude towards females. I’m extremely narrow minded in that case. I do actually believe that nobody should travel to India. To make a statement. Have you watched the news over the last couple of years? Have you read or heard about how many little girls, young women, women got brutally raped by not only one person but a group of men?

I’m narrow minded as I don’t think it’s wrong to travel to India as a woman. I actually think it’s risky. Extremely risky!

Image result for quote open minded

And then, boom, Bob Dylan hits me on my head… I truly can’t understand what’s going on in India in regards to the harassment and rape of women. I can’t understand how it can go on, how it can be that bad, how they can get away. So yes, I criticize, Mr Dylan. Because it’s not right. There are many things out there in this world that are not right. Things I do criticize and really don’t understand.

My friend tells me that the country is beautiful and people are nice. He also tells me that the food is great. Other friends tell me that the got molested on a more regular base than not. They told me that they never leave the hotel unless they need to go to a meeting. They tell me how sick they get each and every time they are in India. They tell me about watching men grope women on the street, not leaving them alone, acting as if it is a sport. They tell me that while they were waiting for their driver in front of the hotel they found themselves suddenly surrounded by three men, one of them rubbing himself against her behind while the others were watching, touching themselves. Guess what: Nobody did anything, not even the police officer she approached right away. He shrugged it off…

I get that I’m influenced by the media, by what others told me.

It’s totally narrow minded to not head out and see for myself. It’s totally narrow minded to not head there and experience the country, it’s people and their food in their country. I agree. But in this case I rather be narrow minded. I actually go that far that I would try my best to talk both of my kids out of traveling to India.

Yes, I am all about being open minded, even if this post might give you a completely different picture. In my opinion there are things though that are not worth taking a risk. Things that are too dangerous to ignore the risk. If that makes me narrow minded, so be it. Traveling to India as a woman is definitely high up on my list of risky things.

There are two sides to it. One is that you put yourself into a risky situation. That is entirely your problem. I agree, you can head to India and have a fantastic travel experience. Or you can travel there and come back deeply scarred. And yes, the same thing can happen while traveling to any destination of course. But there is a higher risk if you travel to India as a woman.

It has been made clear again by the statement of the tourism minister. If you are a woman you are a target in India. It seems to be an issue they are not getting on top of that easily. As much as I agree that your skin is your skin and if you are willing to take the risk of being raped then that’s your decision, do you really think you should support a country with an attitude as such?In the end it all comes down to agreeing on disagreeing, right? I get that my friend enjoys the country I would never want to visit. He has seen it’s good sides, probably also the bad ones but the good ones must outnumber the bad. I give him that. I give him that he actually has the right to judge India as he has been there. I don’t. As narrow minded as I am in regards to India, I still believe that it needs an open mind to be able to agree on disagreeing. For an opinion to not entirely blind you. Image result for quote open mindedI found this quote while looking for a good one to end this post. While I agree with it on one side I also disagree with it in a way. Being open minded doesn’t automatically mean agreeing with everyone on everything. It simply means that you look at things from different angles, that you listen to different opinions, that you accept different opinions and that you don’t try to make people think your way. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t voice your concerns or ask questions. How can you learn if you keep your mouth shut? It’s the approach that matters and if you have a different opinion than others, so be it. I believe what often gets mistaken of being different opinions is when people want you to do as they do. When they want you to live your life the way they live theirs. This has nothing to do with being open minded. This is more about control. So many layers to cover, so much to take in consideration. The more I think about it the more I come to the conclusion that being open minded means that you consider what’s going on around you. You look at everything, maybe turn some stones to look deeper, listen, learn, compare, take in, feel. And then you make a decision. A decision that seems right for you. A decision to act a certain way. A way that is right for you. And then you do. You live your life, you keep looking, listening, feeling, tasting, learning. Adjusting. All in the way that suits you best. Without trying to form others, to influence them while they shape themselves without them wanting you to. You accept them the way they are, the way they shape themselves. Or you walk away.

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28 thoughts on “Open Minded

  1. Very brave of you to admit you have qualms about traveling to India, and owning up to that Facebook comment you made. I have never been to India, but you are right in that it is one of the more riskier places to travel given what we hear on the news about it. I would love to visit India one day but only if I have the comfort of knowing people I know well over there like friends to show me around – some of them have even offered to show me around as opposed to me wandering off with a tour guide. Perhaps I might take the offer up some time.

    Being open-minded means we agree to disagree. I agree with you on that, and the point about listening. We are all entitled to our own opinions should be respected for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think you’re narrow minded. You must be open minded to allow in information that allows you to form an opinion. You may not have been to India, but you’ve now been told by a senior Indian politician that his country can be dangerous for women. What more do you need after that? Your friend may have good experiences of India and I know most of the people are lovely but given the traditional male attitude to women, get yourself into a situation where you’re alone with one or more out of sight, who knows what might happen, as happens to plenty of Indian women. I think you should continue to be open minded and gather enough information to make comments.
    xxx Huge hugs xxx

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  3. Your fear is not unfounded, as recently there has been a spate of incidents that can make a lone woman feel unsafe while traveling there. Of course not every tourist is raped in India, but lewd comments or some gestures are very much possible. Better have someone with you or be in an organised or guided trip. Actually better not go…

    Women in general are unsafe in many, if not most, parts of the world. Just as I read your article, I was simultaneously reading very fresh news story from Sydney. A 12 year old raped a little girl.
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/nsw/a/32505125/two-12yo-boys-charged-with-rape-of-girl/#page1

    Just a few days ago I read another news story goo.gl/z0qU0z that shows how students are reluctant to undertake education at Sydney University, again due to fear of rape. Reputation and impressions do matter. Based on this news, females will avoid this uni. goo.gl/z0qU0z

    Such things are happening in well-developed wealthy countries with supposedly better system and politicians. I feel conditions are deteriorating everywhere. But of course that does not justify recent rapes in India.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are just stating your honest opinion about a place. I visited India several years ago, with a friend who was familiar with the place. We had a fantastic time, saw many beautiful sights, and not so beautiful sights also, but I did become rather ill at the end of my trip. I do suppose that could happen anywhere.

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  5. Your honesty is always appreciated. I agree that people should be open-minded and at least consider other perspectives. That doesn’t mean that they have to agree with them, however. Your reasons for not traveling to India are good and valid. Anyone should understand that. However, just like here in America or anywhere for that matter, you take a risk when traveling there. Perhaps not as great of risks, but risks nonetheless. I suppose it really all depends on a person’s desire to visit a place. I for one, after my husband visited there last year, would love to go. Of course, I would be wise and have my husband with me. It’s certainly not a place I would travel to alone. But, I sure would love to go there. Where he went wasn’t touristy at all. It was poverty stricken and 90% of the area had deteriorated to a point where it was unbelievable that people actually lived there. But, to see their way of life, to experience even for one day even a portion of what they do, would be a life changing experience. Again though, as a woman I would never travel there alone, but I could say the same thing about several places around the world. (And as far as getting sick, many people leave there sick simply because of the unsanitary conditions, but if you get all the shots that you’re supposed to, including the recommended (but not required) ones, then the likelihood of becoming ill is greatly reduced.) All this to say, even though some people would love to go there, it’s not for everyone. And also, wisdom should be practiced when traveling anywhere. In other words, your opinion is right and so is theirs. πŸ™‚

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  6. I try to be open minded in the sense that I try to understand and respect other perspectives (cultural and personal) but at the end of the day respecting someone else’s perspectives doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.

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  7. I am from India. A woman. I live here. Yes, sadly the country is a little unsafe and becoming infamous for it. But, I have lived all my life here and I love it here. Yes, I have been a victim to it too, but frankly who hasn’t? Could there really be any woman in this world who wouldn’t have faced an inappropriate situation… like ever?
    While it is better to be safe than sorry – if you travelling in a group and you have a trustworthy set of friends in India to show you around – I think you will have a great time and experience. The sights, the food, the colors, the chaos, the traditions, the noise, the cultures – every corner has something new to offer.. it’s a crazy place!. I am still not done discovering my own country. But, i do hope you visit India someday… just because of your fear of a few pathetic souls… don’t miss out on a culture trip! That’s all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You got a good point. I guess you are right it’s about the way you travel too… Never say never, right… Thanks for dropping by and leaving this comment. Have a good weekend πŸ™‚

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  8. How can you learn if you keep your mouth shut? Here are quotes that apply to my answer this question
    Mark Twain said “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt” and Epictetus said “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” I think in many risky or unknown situations it is more than prudent to keep one’s opinions to oneself!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I grew up in India, and when I left, the thing I was happiest to leave behind was the country’s attitude to women. The harassment is ubiquitous, and so is victim-blaming. I was all of eleven years old (and looked like a little boy) when my mom taught me how to stay quiet and use my elbows to fend off the men who would stand behind me in crowds and molest me. And, of course, to dress modestly. Sure, if you are part of the elite minority who travel from an air-conditioned house in an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned night-club, you can wear whatever you like. But not if you take public transit or walk… I used to fight so hard against this when I lived there — the things I wasn’t allowed to do, allowed to say, allowed to wear. But now, when I visit, I just conform — I think it’s easier to compromise for a week or two.
    I think that India, with its diversity of natural landscapes and historical wonders, is a fascinating place to travel in. But I would suggest you visit only if you have a local friend. And, for your own safety, listen to her advice about how to conduct yourself, no matter how much that infuriates you. Honestly, I’m not okay with that myself (which is why I don’t want to visit some middle-eastern countries). Disliking such things does not make you close-minded about other cultures. These aren’t cultural issues — they are human rights issues.
    Also, for the record, no matter how careful I am, I get food poisoning every time I go back there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So what I worry about are not just story told by a few but actually even happen to someone like you who grew up in India… The food poisoning is something that gets mentioned every single time to me by everyone who ever traveled to India… Thank you so much for your kind comment. How sad that women, young girls, have to go through ordeals like this…

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