How it feels to be wife of a diplomat
Lakshmi Srivastava, spouse of the Indian Ambassador in Croatia, Raj Kumar Srivastava shares with The Hans India about various aspects right from how it feels to be the wife of the Ambassador to various lessons she learnt from the postings
Since Croatia become a free and independent republic, numerous diplomatic missions and international institutions have been opened in our country. Diplomats from almost all over world live in Zagreb, whose activities are occasionally reported by the media. It is almost unheard of how their wives live and what they do, they have significant humanitarian activity.
The Hans India spoke with Mrs. Lakshmi Srivastava, spouse of Indian ambassador in Croatia, Raj Kumar Srivastava.
Sharing about how it is to be the wife of the Ambassador of India, Lakshmi shares, "India has a very rich cultural heritage and a history that is thousands of years old. It is the world's largest democracy. It is an honour, and I take immense pride in representing my country as the first lady of the mission in Croatia. Our embassy in Zagreb is a home away from home for all the Indians living in Croatia. As the first lady of the mission, not only am I married to my husband but also to his job. I try to do my part of the duty to the best of my abilities. To be able to do that, one requires a lot of commitment and readiness to adapt to new situations. Fortunately, these are the areas of my strength."
Sharing about her interests, Lakshmi shares that she likes to play bridge and golf. Languages and local cuisine have always attracted her in every country.
She adds, "In some places I have even learnt to speak the local language fluently without putting in much effort. I discovered this ability of mine thanks to the nature of my husband's job, which requires us to move every three years. I am learning Croatian now, which is my ninth language. I have also taught Spanish to Indian and foreign students. And I know many different cuisines as I took great interest in learning the local cuisine of every country, I lived in. I have already tried my hands at making sarma at home, which is my favourite Croatian dish."
Remembering whether there were any oddities in Japan, Lakshmi shares that Croatia is their sixth posting. She also shares that they have been previously posted to Spain, Myanmar, Austria, Brazil and Japan.
"I have never had any experience of noticing anything odd, no matter the country that I have lived in, be it Japan or any other. One can have bad experiences in a foreign country but that mustn't become the qualifier for the entire country and its people. Of course, one can encounter culture shocks as they start life in any country but those always teach you something new. For me, life in every country has been very enriching as an individual and each country holds a special place in my heart."
Lakshmi loves to travel and discover the place. She along with her family arrived in Croatia at the end of September last year, so they could get a very warm and sunny welcome in Zagreb.
"My husband presented his credentials to the President of Croatia, H.E. Zoran Milanovic, on the 14th of October after which we travelled extensively. Before the travel restrictions for Covid-19 were even laid, we had already visited many places like Split, Krka National Park, Plitvice, Zadar, Knin, Rovinj, Pula, Motovun and Opatija. And I also enjoy having Croatian wine and cheese and enjoying the fresh produce, truffles."
In India, cows are given the same importance as a mother since it nurtures us just like one. It is written in the ancient Hindu texts that gods reside in a cow's belly, that's why it's considered to be holy. Cows played an important role in the sustenance of our civilization by helping the early farmers cultivate lands. Everything that it gives us comes in great use.
Lakshmi likes to make the Masala Chai. She shares that Indian tea is very well known all over the world for its rich flavour and aroma. There are different ways to make each one of teas. The most popular type of preparation is the Masala Chai (tea cooked together with milk, sugar, fresh ginger, Indian basil and spices).
She shares, "Any country's strength comes from its people, this is especially true for a democracy. India being the largest, it naturally draws its power also from its people. The Indian IT revolution, innovation ecosystem, scientific progress can all be attributed to the Indian citizens' drive to excel. India has achieved a lot of success in its Space research programs, for example, in 2017, India became the world's first country ever to successfully launch over hundred satellites in a single space flight. Similarly, India's mission to Mars was the world's most cost-effective one. Furthermore, India's growth in digital technologies and its vast and diverse startup ecosystem are, again, successes that are entirely due to India's skilled human resources."
India, today, is one of the leaders in climate action and sustainable development, with share of solar, wind and hydro power constantly increasing in our power mix. In this Covid-19 pandemic, India has been recognised globally as the pharmacy of the world.
She adds, "With Prime Minister Modi, India today has a leader who firmly believes in power of its people, that's why he could provide a government focussed on maximum governance with least government, economic growth that is inclusive and people-oriented globalization. During the past six years India has become the best investment destination in the world due to continuous improvement in ease of doing business and ease of living in India." In the times of pandemic India has proven its age-old belief 'Vasudhaiva kutumbakam', World is One Family by not only taking care of its own people but also supplying essential medicines and vaccines to our friends abroad. What makes us as proud Indians even today, is not our materialistic progress but our self-belief that we can address the challenges ahead with complete self-reliance.
"As I moved to various parts of the world and met people who followed different traditions, customs, and ways of life, I learnt the most important lesson: acceptance. This happened when I started immersing myself into the local culture and tried to see things through the lens of a local person".