Fascinating India

September 1, 2009

Spices

Spices

I could not get more stressed in any other place than in India, where all five senses would get assaulted and held constantly on high tension, 24 hours a day. Running the gamut on both extremes, an experience in India cannot be  described easily – nothing is simply good or bad, black or white, right or wrong. 

It is a poor country with an enormous upside.  It is a culinary tradition that produces stunning gastronomic creations. It is the pollution in the cities that is dustier, more pungent, more life threatening than any other country. It is a history that is at once proud and influential and peerless.  It is schizophrenic, psychopathic, psychedelic, kitsch and vibrant –  all rolled into one. It is a delicate balance of tradition and modernity, of inertia and momentum. 

India is at a crossroad. It produces world class scientists and world famous entrepreneurs, its blurgeoning middle class drives its economy and wields tremendous power in the world’s largest democracy, and those who I know, are a gregarious, passionate people. 

And yet, a vast majority might be left behind.  As the country splutters-stops-splutters, inching ever forward, signs are there for the love/hate afflictions that globalization brings to a country, still protected, but inevitably forced to open up, the mammoth task at hand is to better the lives of the hardcore poor, and present viable & real hope to the teeming millions.  I do not feel the energy of purposefulness I felt in Guangzhou walking around Delhi, in fact, many seem to be mindlessly & senselessly ambling about – not strange when you slog through the urban landscape working for a few rupees a day. I see the elevator boy who pushes buttons for a living; the man who stands between you and ticket counter, relaying pieces of paper; always, there is an “extra” man or woman in any establishment whose functions are so trivial it defies reasoning, only that “in India” it is life.

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