On India's 65th Independence day, I and and a couple of my Indian colleagues in Korea decided to visit the Indian Embassy in Seoul. It was the closest we could get to patriotism far away from our country!. The Indian Embassy lies in Hannam area, close by to the Han river. In fact the entire area is known as the UN village. There are embassies of many countries, similar to the Chanakyapuri area in New Delhi. What struck me about the Hannam area is its strikingly beautiful railway station, although being in Seoul it such a simple station, I was reminded of the railway stations in villages in India.
The Embassy of India is about a kilometer's walk from the Hannam station. As we got into the Embassy, the patriotism and love for our country seemed to surge higher, it was like a little India within Korea. Familiar dressing, food, language all together gave us and many other Indian expats unexpected joy!. We never expected to see 500 Indians in Seoul at one place! shocking!. After a long time, I got to taste samosas, idlis, vadas, they weren't great, but something close to that in a remote land are greatly welcome!. The rest of the morning was spent in watching popular Indian numbers performed by a team of Indian and Korean women, visiting multiple stalls displaying Korean and Indian handicraft, face painting stalls, interacting with other Indians, interacting with the ambassador of India to Korea, Mr Vishnu Prakash and also his charming wife :)
The surprising fact that came out of these general discussions were that plenty of Indians were pursuing Ph.D in Korea. I never expected South Korea to be one of the destinations for Ph.D applicants from India, and more so in the areas of pure science. What has happened to pure science research in India, has Korea has beaten us in pure science research ? has Information Technology been over glorified and pursuing science streams seems a bane!, the land of Vikram Sarabhai, C.V Raman, J.C Bose doesn't seem to have a bright future for pursuing pure science anymore, saddening.
We left the place with the immense satisfaction that the day had been well spent and we indeed did a good thing by coming this far to the embassy. Patriotism, culture, language, religion seems much closer to heart in an alien country. The Indian embassy also celebrates other major Indian festivals. In case your in Korea at that time, do call up and participate, I am sure you will never regret it.
Link to Indian Embassy:
Some pictures below.