Tuesday, April 20, 2010
There is a famous Indian writer who once said that in India, all you have to do is peek outside your window and you will have a story.
Life in India changes every day and the view also changes.
Sometimes, you see children playing out on the street.
Sometimes, you see cows strolling, or planting down right in the middle of the street.
Sometimes, you see dogs walking in gangs..people and animals living symbiotic-ally
You see people of various professions carrying out their trade in plain sight - vegetable vendors, cobblers, dry-cleaners, road-sweepers you name it. They become a part of your day-day life. Life never seems empty.
In America, the view can be quiet unchanging because the element of people is taken out of the equation unless you actually go to the mall, and even there, things can be quiet formal and unchanging. I'm sure there are places in America (New York?) where the streets are not anything close to devoid of people, but that is more of an exception than the rule.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The language problem in India is something that will not be found anywhere else in the world.
Whenever I went back to India for visits, I was hounded by one handicap of mine - the inability to drive in India's manic traffic.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Train journeys in India are the closest you can get to watching life in all its registers.
Chaat has to be the tastiest dish in the world made from the simplest raw materials.
When I first came to America, we would play cricket in the parking lots with a ‘taped tennis ball.” Soon, we found out there were actual leagues in America. We would drive two hours to Los Angeles, the hub of cricket in Southern California, play for eight hours and drive back another two hours. Those were our weekends, cricket, cricket and cricket. And of course, the Monday morning blues would be acerbated by the sore muscles and the.
Back in India, cricket was steps away from home, one the street. We would put the wickets right in the middle of the street and let vehicles find their way around it like they would an adamant cow sitting in the middle of the road.
Indians live and breathe cricket. Indians are traditionally not a very sporty nation. The number of Olympic medals India has won in its history can probably be counted using just your fingers and toes. But Indians love their cricket and they are bloody good at it. The game that comes closest to cricket is baseball. But an Indian would never be able to replace cricket with baseball. I went to a baseball game once and sat there and watched. Nothing happened for nearly an hour and a half. Towards the end, someone hit the ball out of the park and people clapped. Then, it was over. Cricket, on the other hand can go on for days, the longer format being five whole days - without ever getting boring!
To find a real Hindu temple in America, you will probably have to drive half the way across America. By ‘real’, I mean complete with shikaras laden with god images and the works. The temple in my hometown, San Diego, is a tiny room in a commercial building next to the Indian grocery store, in the same complex that also housed a mosque. In India, going to the temple is often a pilgrimage. Often, people climb thousands of steps to the get the top of the hill that houses the temple.
In America, going to the temple was just a part of a pilgrimage that included buying groceries at the India store and having dinner at the Indian restaurant.