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Truly Welcome


India, under PM Narendra Modi, has sought to take the G20 Presidency and its meetings beyond just a diplomatic or bureaucratic exercise. In a day and age when it has become difficult to distinguish between the virtual and the real, there is nothing better than direct experience to recognise the humanity in all of us – irrespective of which part of the planet one belongs to. Music, the rhythm of dance, the warmth of a smile, the happily served cuisine – no matter how simple – all serve to communicate the message that the world is one family. And, if that which delights us is similar, so are the dangers that threaten to take away even the basics needed to exist as a people.

Uttarakhand is traditionally a pilgrimage destination, where through arduous journeys to the shrines people discovered their inner selves and raised their consciousness to the level of the mountains they had entered. Now, it is also a multi-faceted tourist destination for leisure and adventure activities. So, from being providers of spiritual succour to pilgrims, the local people are also learning to welcome visitors as family. As people from the G20 nations arrive at Narendra Nagar and discuss serious issues of global importance, the task for the hosts will also be to make it a unique personal experience for all. In an age when time is short, the effort will be to communicate the spirit of the mountains, rivers and forests to each and every one in a special way. Friendships may flower to last a lifetime, but even the fleeting will do.

Hopefully, the complexity of the terrain and the simplicity of the people will make the necessary impact and the visitors will return with a taste for yoga and a hankering for the essential spiritual quest of which Narendra Nagar is just the gateway. Much more lies beyond and, hopefully, the delegates will venture to return and inspire others to do the same. So, let it not just be about the conference room!