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Foray into foreign land



Ameet Mirpuri

Ask a fellow Vizagite why he doesn't wear a turban and a bored quizzical look follows. Place the same Vizagite on foreign soil and bombard the same question and you definitely would want to know what he answered to the foreigner.

Life was a volley of similar questions when curious foreigners found Indian youngsters conversing in fluent English, shopping at malls, dressing up in branded clothes and exhibiting their best behaviour in their country. "Are you really an Indian?"' most asked and responsible answers rolled out. Among this batch of ten illustrious Indian youngsters chosen under the `Young Ambassadors Programme' by the 41ers Association of India recently, Ameet Mirpuri was the chosen one from Vizag.

While friends found his selection a cool way to holidaying, Ameet claims the programme taught its bit to him. Apart from the freakout sessions, a sense of camaraderie and Indianness enveloped this select batch of six girls and four boys, as soon as they met at the Mumbai International Airport to jet off for the cultural exchange programme.

Ameet with his batch visited four countries - Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France. While Austrians were very friendly, French he says were sarcastic to some extent. In France, when the batch attended a high society party with a seven course spread, Ameet reminisces giggling that he had no clue of which fork and knife was to be used to eat which portion of the meal. A batch mate hinted table etiquettes and soon these Indian youngsters were at ease. At this French do, nobody spoke in English and heads turned when the Indians communicated in fluent English. Sporting Indian traditional attires, these youngsters bagged the limelight when they spoke in depth about the richness of India by showing pictures of Indian weddings, cosmopolitan cities, Internationally recognised universities and the living standards of Indians.

Every country these youths visited, the stay was taken care of. While most locales were at the countryside, Ameet found all the four countries with utmost cleanliness. Each country then unfolded its essence by way of food, attires, transportation and warmth of the nationals. In Austria, home brewed wine were a specialty and Ameet saw snow for the first time here. In a few days, the team moved to south of Germany at Frieborge, then to France and stayed at the famous Mont Blanc village which had a clear view of Mont Blanc snow-capped peak. Here, the batch undertook a trek on the hills, walked on a frozen lake, visited the manmade caves with ice sculptures and ate the various kinds of country made cheese.

Switzerland was the last country of visit and the beauty of the place captured them completely. Ameet says: "We clicked pictures at the same station where the Dilwale Dulhaniyan le jayenge scene was shot". At the Zurich city, the batch was lucky to attend the Zurich festival which occurs once in three years. The festival was personified with live orchestra at the lakeside and exuberant fireworks. "The captivating half an hour at the festival is so musical that its magic moved us to tears", added Ameet. In every city, these youngsters gave away Indian motifs and exchanged details about India, inviting the foreign nationals to visit their beautiful homeland. And finally the day of departure neared when each representative had go back to their own home city. With promises to remain in touch through e-mails, phone calls and holidays, the group treaded their way back, flooded with memoirs of the cultural exchange programme.

When Ameet reached Vizag, friends at the Vyayaam gym, school friends, relatives and family thronged to welcome him home. While Swiss chocolates and token gifts became the order of the day, everyone was amused at Ameet talking in shudh Hindi. Hindi bonded us together in foreign land and we sure got away with many hilarious remarks at the nationals there, all thanks to Hindi, Ameet smirked.

A dude in more ways than one, Ameet is a qualified commercial designer from GITAM college. Having belted out many interesting interior designing projects at Prapancha boutique with Candy Court outlet at Waltair Uplands, Palm Beach restaurant revamp among the others, this 24-year-old Leo is a familiar sight at the Eastern Art Museum near Sri Sampath Vinayaka Temple. Ameet assists his father Prem Mirpuri with the museum purchases here. Friendly and smart, this gym freak steals the show at many jive parties and sure has many enterprising designs up his sleeve for the city of destiny.

NIMISHA TIWARI HOTA

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