Why do I love India?:)
How do I love India?:)Or rather why do I love India?Let me count the ways…:)
There is always time for a cup of chai..:)…morning,afternoon,evening,night….
Indians bond over a cup of chai…..from politics to marriages,to gossip..chai is the sole binding force..
And oh! before you look daggers at me,let me say that the same goes for coffee..:)
Food is offered to complete strangers and shared with an open heart…:) We have a copyright over ‘khaana khaa ke jaana /jaaiye’
The villagers here are unlike anywhere in the world…their openness humbles me..overwhelms me..
Every Indian no matter how urban,can trace his/her roots to some village and that is the most important in life….to never ever forget one’s roots…
The way powercuts don’t make us groan so much are they a part of our life…
The way lanterns (laalten) in villages are lighted at dusk….
The soft glow of fireflies and the absolute stillness of the night in a village…the quiet chirping of jhingurs....the croaking of frogs during the monsoons…
I have visited places which have a masjid,a mandir, a gurudwara and a church side by side…and a buddhist monastery too:)Where else in the world will I see such a sight on its own and not deliberately created?
This is the land where so many beautiful souls were born…some like Buddha,Krishna ,Kabir,Mahatma Gandhi……..take a moment to pause and take a deep breath…they walked on the very same land..maybe even where you are walking today?:)
Indians are the most kind people I have ever known…or maybe the only ones I have known?:)And I am not talking of the numb,urban Indian(though thats a generalisation too)….No,I am talking of another India…the one outside of this blogosphere in many respects..
Go to even a small town ,a qasba as they call it and you will see what I mean..:)And the villages have a charm, a culture of their own..a culture that says guests are akin to god ….
India is music and music is India…:)Music is in our blood..from the folk songs to the ones in movies of every language we are a nation that loves,simply loves its music…
We are ‘singers at heart…yes all of us..all Indians….we hum melodies ,we sing folk songs…we are the bards of this world…:)and I love that…for when the spirit of the world needs some nourishment ,who better to sing and soothe?:)
We are dancers too…we have the most classical dances and also have our own madcap individual versions the way we let go at weddings and immerse ourselves in the music..:)
We are healers too…from Ayurveda to the Unani system of medicine…:)(it still survives in India but not in Greece:))
We have a history so rich that even many lifetimes will never be enough to know it all…where does one start?
The way we sometimes smirk and give this ‘beautiful history argument for every debate that we have…funny I know ,but hilarious is it not?:)and all Indians do it at some point…times when we simply sigh over what had been… (even if only in our minds:D)
We have a country so varied geographically that one can enjoy snow fall, torrential rains and sweltering summers…all at the same time..
One can sit and gaze at the ocean,go and live amidst the quiet seclusion of the mountains,know the quiet desert sands….and gaze at the mustard fields of the plains….all in the same country!:)
The sight of coconut trees transports me to ‘god’s own country’..:)…a bargad ka ped (Banyan Tree) seems like a grand old patriarch to me …something to be found in every village..:) a peepal tree seems like its the protector of us all…while just the sight of a neem tree soothes…:)
We live in spaces so small and yet our hearts are the biggest in the world…for who knows of family better than an Indian?:)Love them or not,they are ours …:)
The bazaars have a charm of their own….the cacophony of noises,the medley of colours…shops nestling side by side…people bumping into each other…jalebis and samosas in one corner, paan in another,sarees in a third and jewellery in a fourth……the sheer confusion of it all…and yet where else would one find this beautiful insanity?
The sheer love of jewellery that we seem to have…its absolute madness…and yet not madness…:)the shringaar,the craving for gold that exists unlike any other country..:D.. the toe rings that we love,the bangles that seem to have been made just for us….:)the nose pins,the paayals…:)
Even silver jewellery:)
The mehndi such an integral part of our culture…
The clothes we wear..the sheer riot of colors ..the zari,gota,salma sitaara..:)the beauty that is banarsi,patola,paithani,tanchui,maheshwari,Chanderi,munger,tussar,…..:))where else would you find these?:)Where?:)
The way a barren land blooms with colour ..the blues the reds,the saffrons,the greens…Rajasthan is colour… and India too..:)
The ancient temples…the walls that seem to speak in whispers so hushed…telling us tales of a beautiful past..the forts ,the palaces that shout of royalty,intrigue,politics and treason…it is such a baffling mix…The sufi dargahs that seem to touch my soul…and help me be at peace…
A saint revered since generations….blessing all those who come, irrespective of faith…
The many millions who come of all faiths not caring about the saint’s religion….Hindus ,christians ,Buddhists,Muslims in not just places of their own faith but temples ,churches and mosques and gurudwaras and monasteries…
The way a Hindu can ask for a tabeez from a Chishti saint and the way a Muslim is the caretaker of an old Temple…:)
The way faith ,simple faith seems to be in our blood….a stone can be everything and nothing if we want it to be…:)
The melas and the haats….the sheer beauty that is our traditional handicrafts…
The festivals so varied and yet the same..the celebrations, all so very same at the heart ,are they not?:)
The way all of us love kites whether we know how to fly them or not..:D..the sheer awe, as one looks at them soaring in the sky…the colours,the competitions as one tries to cut a friend’s kite string…patangbaazi…:)
The food..how can one forget the food?:)We live for food..:)From ‘ghar ka khaana ‘which varies from region to region to the streetside food…….ghar ka khaana could be aloo ke paranthe or idlis , dosas,or sambhar, or uthappam or theplas,or momos(dimsums)or dal bati churma,malpua,chole,kormas ,koftas,(are you salivating yet?:D)or tandoori rotis,the rohu,the hilsa ,the fish and rice,the jheenga,the various varieties of chutney that we have…or kheer or rasmalai,gulabjamun,sandesh…:)(drool away!)or kulfi the most authentic Indian icecream?:D
The street food..haven’t even come to that yet..:D the chole bhature,the pav bhaji,the golgappas(phuchkas) ,tikkis,bhelpuri,chole kulche,dahi vada…:)
The way we can take chinese food and make it desi ,the way a pizza could never be recognised by an Italian ,so Indian have we made it…
The spices the sheer variety of them…cloves(laung),saunf,dalchini(cinnamon),black pepper(kali mirch),tez patta Curry leaves,nutmeg,turmeric,chillies,cardamom,ginger…..and the way we use them just so….
The way even our vehicles are decorated as if to celebrate life…’ok tata’ ‘phir milenge’, a few budding poets and their creations too are featured on trucks..many an artist have used the truck as their canvas..:D
The rangoli designs that are all so different from each other…:)
The way we give mithaai on every occasion…what a beautiful tradition no celebration is complete without mithaais..(even if city dwellers are changing it now)..:)
Grown men and women have names like baby,pinky ,chotu,sunny …:D
The arguments that we love to have over every topic…and yet they are not arguments are they?:)the way we dissect everything to bits…that is so India is it not?:)
The seemingly faltu (useless) discussions on everything under the sun…whether at a gaon ki chaupal or at a paan ki dukaan..or at a gathering of friends…we take the art of conversation to a different level altogether…:D
How there is always room for one more on a seat in a train or a bus…:)
The quiet solitude at dusk when the birds have returned home and the sun has spread a warm red glow just before setting……
The beauty of dawn and the dewdrops and the freshness…of birds chirping..so many of them…mynas,sparrows,pigeons,crows…..
The way we believe that a crow crowing and squaking outside the window means that a guest will arrive…:)
The way sparrows sing of happiness…
The smell of jasmine when you are standing quietly in a garden on a moolit night….(yes,I love jasmine:))..the way we use marigolds for everything..:)from festivals to weddings to gods and even on a last journey….flowers are so much a part of us…are we the only country tha uses flowers so?:)
The roses as an offering to Shiva…the white jasmine in venis and gajras…:)
( humming genda phool are you?):D
The way a certain sacredness pervades our life at every corner..
The way we believe that mountains are the abode of many gods…
The way we believe that certain trees are so sacred ,certain animals even more so…
The cows, the elephants, the camels and other animals…..all so very much a part of our traditions….
The way we embrace everyone with an open heart…refugees from every land have found themselves warmly emraced in India and have made their homes here…
The way we celebrate marriage here…with our hearts and our souls…its a celebration of life itself…:)
The way its Army ,Navy and Airforce and the Paramilitary gets a respect unlike that in any other country by the common Indian…the respect and affection in the gaze of the ordinary Indians for a man or woman in uniform…
The way we touch the books to our forehead when we accidentally touch them with a foot…the way we bring our hands to our heart when we have accidentally touched someone with our foot…
The way we furtively resort to speaking in our mother tongue when a secret is to be shared…:D
The way we still have a culture and a civilisation that refuses to die out…the way sanskrit is still learnt and spoken…the way this ancient civilisation still preserves ever so lovingly all the elements that set it apart ..the way we can see that civilisation while walking the streets of Banaras…and in the bylanes of Madurai….
It is the equivalent of watching a living breathing Greek civilisation…and as we know ,none of the other ancient civilisations including the Greek have survived… that makes it so much more amazing does it not?
The train journeys..Oh!how can I forget the train journeys?:)If you have never travelled by train,you have not experienced one of the most delightful,soul stirring experiences of your life..:)
India and trains are a part of each other in so many ways…rail travel is a beautiful way to experience India..an unforgettable experience..
As the stations go whizzing past…the fields keep passing by the window…mustard,wheat,rice and so many more..one sees farmers hard at work in the fields ..women carrying bundles on their heads…the nasal tones of chai garam at each station….the kulhad chai that you gingerly try to take in from the window…tilting the kulhad ever so carefully between the bars…
The pakodas,the various snacks one can see being fried at the stations..
The landscape keeps changing colour …from the black soil of central India to the barren nothingness of Rajasthan to green ,green fields of Kerala to the lush green forests of Assam till as far as the eyes can see….
The crinkle of paper and the steel thalis as one takes out the food…the smell of aloo puri..:)..the aromas that fill a train compartment as everyone takes out their food…the furtive glances at each other ,the shy smiles,the slight hesitance as one offers one’s food to strangers…an amalgam of so many cultures in one train compartment…India travels by train…go travel by one if you want to see India..
The way we are sometimes so damn good at speaking the queen’s language and the way we sometimes butcher it..:D
The way we cling to loose coins and change and crisp new notes..:D
The way we refuse to take off the plastic covers off a new sofa or a car seat..:D
The way we make relations left ,right and centre..everyone is our didi,bhaiyya ,chachaji,mausi and so on….:D…I love the way we do that…:)
The way we make sure that our relations prosper by all that giving and recieving..by sharing our joys and sorrows…
And finally colours.I cannot imagine an India without colours.
Take a look around you and see how colours glitter and glisten and beckon.:)
India is colours.Or maybe colours are India?:)
Can I repeat a line that’s not my own and yet seems to have burrowed its way deep into my heart?:)
”in betarteeb si galiyon mein tarteeb se panapte rishte”
This is India for me…:)
India is in my blood….is it in yours too?:)
Share the reasons as to why YOU LOVE INDIA…:))
Because sometimes in the face of all the negativity, one forgets what one has ….its value…
And so ,one has to take a step back and take a second look and rediscover one’s own country all over again:)
There are two things most important in life,things that you should give your children.One is roots and the other is wings.:)
If every Indian remembered this ,things would be fine..:)
PS:-I know its a pretty haphazard list,even weird..:)like powercuts shouldn’t be a part of our life right?:)
But have just tried to see how we take everything so important in a manner so casual…please don’t get serious and start a dialogue on India’s negative points…:)
“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches
its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary
desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee
into ever-widening thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,
let my country awake.”
“GEETANJALI” -Rabindranath Tagore
Important:-There is a glitch apparently with blogger. All the followers are not visible.
rest assured I am still following you..:D:D
EDITED TO ADD:-ignore the above statement regarding blogger.
The truth is they have messed up.They are playing with our minds I am telling ya
I have gone ahead and re-Followed (is that a word?) all the blogs that were left out..
Now you.. *ahem*looks at the ceiling* have to do the same ..heh!heh!(go to your dashboard and add the blogs that you follow again)
And its played havoc with emotions I am telling you..Everyone’s emotions
I want to bawl!!
WordPress people? laughing are you?
And if I have somehow missed out on following any of you, then just drop in a hi, I will get back and follow *sigh*again:))
People,my eys are blurry but I have somehow completed this herculean task of re following
btw I am also facing huge problems in posting comments on other blogs:(
what is happening?gawd!!is this a conspiracy you think?Are they out to get us?:((
Solilo,Stop laughing right now..:P
None of the photographs featured here are mine.If anyone has any objection,let me know and I will remove it.:)