Nothing prepares you for India

Nothing prepares you for India

Nothing prepares you for India

Its always a pleasure, fun and source of joy to celebrate our holidays with our family and friends in Delhi which goes hand in hand with a certain sense of pride and friendship,” says His Excellency Alon Ushpiz, Ambassador of Israel post exuberant celebrations of 65th Independence Day of Israel.

Resuming his office, the ambassador shared the experience of celebrating the day, far from home. “It’s a mixed feeling. In a way, its like dosa, in which you have a lot of ingredients and together they give you a certain flavour!”

As a child though, the ambassador never thought of taking up diplomatic services. “I did not want to be a diplomat and certainly not an ambassador from the age of 10.” Like a “typical Israeli kid, I too wanted to be either a soccer player or a fire fighter. My interest in Israeli foreign policy came about only much later.

There are those who from cradle want to be an Israeli diplomat and they plan their lives accordingly. To be a diplomat is one of the most challenging, fulfilling and enriching professions that an Israeli can choose. It does not pay well but it is almost a dream occupation,” he laughs over the confession, stating Israel’s heterogenous nature as a reason for his choice of this occupation.

“Israel is not a typical country. It’s the culmination of 4000 years of Jewish history. Many Israeli diplomats truly believe in what they are doing,” he says pointing towards his spokesperson and adds that, “An Israeli diplomat has the luxury of a certain amount of independence in taking something and changing it by their own indigenous decisions which makes it a very fulfilling occupation.”

Despite postings in places as diverse as Japan and USA prior to his current assignment, the ambassador strongly feels that, “You cannot come to India and leave India the same way you came here. I don’t believe there is anything that can prepare you for India which has a history of 5000 years and very diverse. I have been to tens of places in the course of my career but have never seen such impressive wave of hunger for success and change like here.”

He also shares that he asked for this posting because of “a combination of a couple of things. The bilateral relations between Israel and India are not conventional. Both countries are important for each other and we are doing collaborative work in all kinds of things.

Secondly, diplomacy has this image of being isolated in very nice offices. That is not its purpose. It is to do tangible things by bringing two governments, countries together for a product that men and women can hold in their hands, something that can improve their lives. Then there is a magnitude of this location that I find attractive.” Since Delhi has the biggest Israeli embassy in Asia, he felt his ideas could take relations further and exclaims, “So far I have not been disappointed in my expectations!”

He likes to see India from different perspectives and appreciates Indian authors and Indian modern art. In nearly two years, he feels it important to make the time memorable for his family too and narrates incidents of his holidaying in Kerala’s backwaters and visit to Varanasi.

“A human being who does not spend a few days in Varanasi needs to miss something about life. I learn a couple of things every morning I wake up. One of the best experiences I had was after one of our diplomats was attacked a year ago in Delhi.

I don’t even have an adjective to describe it. It was one of the most heartwarming experiences to get this wave of support and friendship from Indians who protected us and our families. I felt overwhelmed by the concern shown by Indians which goes way beyond official obligations. These I am going to take with me, once I am out of India.”

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