Wouter in India#1 – Heroes

Good day Sir, Good day Madam. Welcome to my first blog. My name is Wouter Willems. I’m already for two months in India for the Bovelander Foundation. From now on I’ll write a blog every month about what I’m doing here, what I experience – at this moment because of COVID-19 nothing more than the work at the academy – what I notice about the Indian culture, like always greeting with Sir. So far, everything has been all very positive and it’s been a pleasure to work with the children here at the academy. The successes of the Olympics are huge, so we can expect great things in the near future. I will keep you updated every month, but you can also follow me on Instagram: @wouter_in_india.

In the beginning of August, the Dutch athletes returned back from the Olympics. After the most successful edition of the Olympics, the winning athletes were honored by family and friends and a big party was organized in Scheveningen. The medal winners were spoken to by the prime minister Mark Rutte and visited the king, where they were all knighted. They will probably receive some more felicitations, but after that… Normal life will start again. In my first one and a half month in India, I have noticed that the Indians deal very differently with succes.

It all started during the Olympics. Both Indian hockey teams, who were watched closely by the academies, made it to the semifinals. The chance to win a medal were suddenly real! From all over India, rewards were offered when winning a medal. Rewards, of thousands and thousands of Euro’s. (Local) governments and businesses offered a job for a lifetime, money or cars. So… After winning a medal, you’re future is secured.

Of course, the Olympic heroes are also being honored. Everyone want to make a selfie with the athletes, and they are all being invited for ceremonies and other events. But the difference between the Netherlands and India… These moments will never end for the Indians. They are heroes for life now. They will forever be invited for all kinds of events.

But next to all those kind of events, the athletes will get invited for more controlling tasks. For example: one former international has visited the academy already multiple times, just to check something out. The last time was just to be present during the selection procedure. But this whole visit, is just to check it out. Nothing more. The presence of this person should be improving the process already.

Honoring goes further than that. We as Tata Academy also honor all the heroes of the company Tata. Last month it was JRD-Day, named after J.R.D. Tata, who made the company big. On that day, his life is being honored. There is an altar where everyone, bare feet, shares their appreciation and respect by sprinkling flowers on his photos and to pray. Next to that, there was a quiz organized for the academy and a drawing competition, for who could make the best J.R.D. Tata drawing.

Respect and appreciation for others is everywhere in daily life in India. However, for me as a typical Dutch person, it is sometimes difficult to understand, but I can see that is has something beautiful. I’m lucky that I can experience this, but also to share my own experiences with everyone at home. The funny thing is that you notice immediately that I’m a Dutch merchant… The thing that sticks me the most are all the great benefits.

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