We always have a choice whether or not to take that one step, beyond which there’s a whole new world waiting to be explored. Two years back I have started planning my trip to India. Couple of years later and I am living the dream.
India was on my ‘must see’ list since I was a child, watching documentaries. Its ancient history, spirituality and civilizations always fascinated me and it just seemed the place where all this mysticism was molded into such colorful and diverse ways!
Later on, I have discovered Mircea Eliade, read more about hindu and buddhist philosophies, saw some Bollywood movies, and eventually I came to know that the romani people ( also called gypsies’) actually originated from the nomadic tribes of north India – Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. (I must say I have a great respect and admiration for their unity and the way they preserve their culture.)
I knew this trip will be a lifetime experience, a challenge, a sort of ‘once you’ve made it in India you’ll make it anywhere’ – which by the way it is a bit true. For me, it was like a coming back to the roots, to the center – this not only because of yoga, the mysticism or spirituality, but also for it rich culture, mix of people, different languages ( total 1600!) and religions (Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jain, Sikh and Parsi).
In a country where there are 1.25 billion people, that come from so many backgrounds, so culturally diverse – what they all learn and have in common is their humbleness and tolerance. Here you see the poorest slums and the most marvelous palaces. After all, India is the land of contrasts, where people learn to adapt from an early age, to accept the others as they are, to be creative and accept life as it is ( also due to its caste system).
In a world of endless possibilities, where everyone has its own dreams and goals in life, every day seems like a fight for survival. Although the British rule left a strong imprint on the country, India will always get away with it. In India everything is possible; in India you can make it happen! Add a cup of chai, a puffy idly cake as well as a nice sitar tune with a view and you’ll get the picture! (See ‘Shantaram’- Gregory David Roberts – must read)
Honestly, India for me is more than a destination, it’s not just an another country to visit. It’s a fight with your own self. It builds your character and makes you understand that what you’ve previously considered imperative in your life is just a commodity. It makes you stronger. The fact that India strikes you with its poverty and magnificence (holy cows walking free on the roads along with high class cars, great palaces along with miserable slums),it’s music, scents and colors, but above all, the people that make this country so special- yes – we have to admit: India has its ups and downs, but if you’ll survive it – one thing is sure – you’ll never get enough of it.
“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.”