You are what you experience. Those experiences shape the way you think about everything from food and places to people and culture. It also creates bias, which I am when discussing Brazil and India, two beautiful countries with beautiful people.
My first visit to Brazil (1996 – wow, 19 years ago) left an indelible mark on my life. I had a productive professional time meeting with various companies and an even better time as a tourist of Rio de Janeiro and the Carioca culture. I have always joked that the one deal I did close was meeting my wife, Leticia! Ever since, I’ve loved getting to know more of the people, the music, food, and culture. We’ve traveled far and wide in Brazil and I’ve had a long-standing desire to live there someday for full immersion. Yes, the country has its problems with crime, drugs, and corruption but the beauty of Brazil is that the people are truly happy.
I then had the opportunity to travel to India (2000 – 15 years ago) on business. It was a short 2-week jaunt to a developing city, Ahmedbad (now major industrial city) between Mumbai and Delhi. I had a wonderful time working with a group of enthusiastic and positive Indians that are friends to this day. I remember flying home thinking how similar the Indians were to my Brazilian friends in terms of culture and demeanor. Ever since I have preached the commonality of these two cultures and here’s why:
- Population: India #2 (1.3 billion) + Brazil #5 (200 million)
- Size: Brazil #5 (8.5 million km2) + India #7 (3.3 million km2)
- Traffic + city crowds – controlled chaos!
- Wildlife: Amazon jungle and tiger reserve parks
- Long coastlines – Brazil’s beaches get the crowds while India’s don’t; one has tiny bikinis and the other has full pants!
- Largest Hindu + Catholic countries in the world. India is also the largest country for Sikh, Jains, Bahai, #3 for Muslims, and top 10 for Buddhists!
- Weddings: Big, colorful, and expensive events!
- Carnival in Brazil and Holi festival in India
- Super friendly and live life in the present.
- Social butterflies: Watch the social interaction of each and hands wave, arms move, bodies gyrate to complement the words spoken.
- Cool cats: The men act cool everywhere!
- Spontaneous and loud: Don’t be surprised to see kids jump into a museum fountain or ladies screaming to be heard.
- Gorgeous self-confident women! My personal bias speaketh.
- Indian slums + Brazilian favelas: Slumdog Millionaire / City of God
- Colonial to independence.
- Portuguese – Brazil + Goa/Kerala states in India.
- Government democratic chaos known for corruption.
- Both have had female leaders. Go Girls!!
- BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
- The great divide: Billionaires along side masses of poverty.
- Agriculture: #1+#2 in world sugar production – sweet!
- Both countries are always on the cusp of breaking through but…
- Wonders of the World: Taj Mahal & Corcovado.
- In the arts, both are growing at a fast pace to world acclaim.
- Brazil has its bossa nova music and India has Bollywood.
- Cricket is to India as futebol (soccer) is to Brazil.
This certainly does not do justice and you simply have to open your eyes to see the amazing people of both cultures. Once you do, you will find that we are all quite similar despite our different backgrounds and that it is better to compare positively to the masses than react negatively on the actions of a few. Thank you to all my Brazilian and Indian friends and family!
Namaste & Beijos