I was asked recently in an interview why I set up the Global Indian Series and what it means to my personal experience. It was both thought-provoking as well as illuminating to myself to actively deep-dive into my 58 country journeys so far and more than a decade long of experience of making friendships in locations that remain foreign to most – even the locals! This post does not seek to answer that question – it would not be fair to the wonderful journalist who took the time to talk. However, it did spark a deeper yearning of something to write.
In fact, it is my love for the planet and my fellow human beings that forced me to take direct action to build a reference point to the modern history of us. Openly, being of Indian origin and a British national is a pleasant coincidence in the larger significance that I see as my human life. Both aspects regarding geographical identity are the core to many in regard to their perceived cultural affiliation and is actually granted to us out of pure luck. That does not mean I do not accept my tribal-like stance on perceived cultural affiliation, but I do keep it as one of the many feathers I like to wear. As with many, it does not define me in my entirety, but it is something I do cherish.
I cherish my unusual experiences of the world, reminiscing of sitting on a beach with my dear friend Nick whilst we drank a local brew in St Kitts whilst laughing until we cried. Or my newfound love of eating the cast of “Peppa Pig” in Santo Domingo with my dear friend David whilst the smell of “diabetes” filled the air, bubbles of salsa burbled over our food and the intense conversation of art and culture. Even the sombre moments will stay with me; witnessing death in Sierra Leone during the heart of Ebola and meeting with the grieving Chiefs whose lands and local influence for their people had been stolen. I have plenty of stories each balancing the fragility of the human experience that we call life with culturally redefining positions of conversations.
It seems the more I travel the more I start to build a stronger version of who I really am; parts of my personality begin to shape, and others erode to the oceans of experienced exposure. We often underestimate the power that lies in meaningful connection and furthermore the lessons we can learn together that will transform our combined living standards as a human race. For me, the Global Indian Series is not entertainment, it is an important bridge that reconnects us to the aspects of community, purpose and passionate living that sits at the heart of us all. It is a rallying cry for lived experiences, a bible of sorts of the repertoire of human emotions we all find ourselves in.
I recently recorded a podcast with Vikram Vij, a serial entrepreneur, renowned Chef and judge on Dragons Den Canada. Ten percent of the conversation looked at what you would class as the obvious and the remainder, from my stance, was a privileged peer into the life of a fellow human being whose own deep reflection of himself and the circumstances he was in, was a reassuring anchor that the greatest bank account we will ever own is in the integrity of our experiences for the good or the perceived bad.
For those who have had the chance to listen to our weekly podcasts, for me it truly is a living encyclopaedia of who we are, with every perceived echelon of society coming together from across the planet! From heads of state, business moguls through to leading actors, activists or the person on the verge of homelessness, it’s the first platform of its kind that celebrates the human before the status. It also shows how the notion of identity shifts and forms. How an entire community whose genetic “origins” come from South Asia have kept some ties but moulded themselves to adapt. It also shows how far we can stretch the “isms” until they no longer belong. We hosted a conversation with Pakistan’s first Drag stand-up comedian Mohammed Moiz where, like you would expect, we spoke nothing about comedy but probed into the deeper questions of gender identity. It was an extraordinary conversation that re-established a common-sense view on the perceptions we have allowed to define us. Again, something echoes in our conversation with Vimal Shah – a human whose own finances are equivalent to the GDP of a small nation, but whose shared experiences would be relatable to any individual starting the voyage of life.
In a time where cultures and communities are being divided, we are celebrating a living legacy of joint humanness. If you would like to support our efforts in creating this, then please get in touch directly.