10 months ago
Monday, 10 August 2009
On Saturday, I went to this place called 1000 islands. It is a 315 km drive from where I live, but we covered the distance in a little over two hours. As the name suggests 1000 islands are a group of 1856 islands (to be precise), situated in Saint Lawrence river, on the US Canada border. A grand majority of these islands are quite small in size and inhabited, but some have beautiful villas built on them. One of the larger islands has a permanent population of 80, with 2 churches, a shopping center, a fire department, post office and a community hall! To qualify as an island, the criteria are:
1. The body of land must be above water all the days of the year.
2. It should have a minimum of one tree on it.
3. In area, it should be larger than a square foot.
We went on a lazy two and a half hour cruise. I must have seen about 200 islands. I didn't have the chance to set foot on any of the isles, but if you take the five hour cruise, you are allowed to spend two hours on one of the larger islands which has a lovely castle (forgot the name!) The cruise was quite a novel experience but after an hour or so, it became monotonous. The islands are so very similar that it is hard to distinguish one from another. On hind sight I should have opted for the one hour cruise. I have uploaded some pictures on my facebook and orkut profiles. The picture on top has a villa named 'Just Room Enough' lol
This is my personal favourite. The white bridge is the shortest international border. It has Canada on the left and the United States on the right. By the way, 1000 islands is also the largest unguarded international boundary!
On Sunday, I went to the town square with dad for an India day parade. The parade was held in honour of India's 62nd annual day. Before the parade as usual there were patriotic songs sung and speeches were given by some dignitaries. Every person who spoke praised India so much that one East European tourist standing besides me remarked that India must be one helluva country. It was ironic to see these guys, some third generation migrants harp so much about how great a country India is and how patriotism flows in their veins. The parade in itself was quite a bit of fun. There were these huge floats, each representing a state of India. The Goa float was the best. It had sunbathers, footballers, dancers, fisher folk, hippies and every other thing you associate with Goa.
Most of the people were dressed in traditional clothes. Seeing me dressed in a short shirt and jeans, a gentleman asked me if I had left my patriotism at home. To which I replied, "Patriotism is not leaving India for another country even if it promises you the best education and a future you can only dream of. I got admitted in some of the best colleges in the States, but chose not to go. Cause I feel that it is each person's responsibility to contribute to their country's progress. I have stayed back in the hope that my children won't have to make a tough decision and leave their homes, parents and country, just so that they can have a better tomorrow. That is patriotism. Turning up every year in this costume of yours with the tricolour pinned to your breast is not patriotism."
Post Script: Patriotism was the 4782nd reason in my 4783 reasons not to do MS in US, the 4783rd being sisterly affection. But it helped shut the man up!