Flavours of India

       

India is a country of incredible diversity, a land where ancient customs, cultures &  religions co-exist.

The strength of the fabric lies in the mutual tolerance woven in with threads of diverse cultures, religions & viewpoints.

These are just some of my favourite flavours of India.

It lies in the simple & ordinary everyday life.

*          *          *           *         *

The shout of the fruit & vegetable vendors hollering from the gate, calling out to the only person they deal with in the house.

Jasmine, marigold garlands & other beautiful flowers heaped in baskets as you pass by market streets or temples.

The haunting strain of MS Subbulakshmi singing  Suprabhatam in the early morning quiet playing from some remote house far away.

The sombre sound of a cock crowing in recognition of a new day. In urban cities it is a rarity to have one in the neighborhood.

The watchman’s transistor radio belting some seedy movie mix in the park.

The cry of the Rangoli seller as she makes her way through the streets with the basket on her head.

The aroma & taste of pure filter coffee which you get in a tumbler when visiting  South Indian families & experience simple hospitality.

The fast disappearing sight of the salt seller as he pulls his cart of rock salt through the streets calling to whoever will hear & respond.

The symbols of so many religions & cultures amongst my fellow Indians as we go through everyday life.

This is so distinctly India.

Love it.

Namaste India.

The things we may ask & do when you visit our beloved country – India.

I have taken the liberty of using ‘we’, though no generalisation is intended!

*  *  *  *  *

We will ask where your from.

We will ask about your country.

We will ask if you like our country.

We will ask if you like spicy food.

We will ask if you are married.

We will ask your age.

We will ask your spouse’s age.

We will ask how many children you have & won’t be embarrassed when you tell us you are not married to begin with.

We will ask if your home is your own or if it’s rented.

*  *  *  *  *

We will ask if you like our Bollywood.

We will get you hooked onto Kolaveri Di. (Holy Cow-u)

We will tell you we are an emerging superpower.

We will make sure you are enlightened that English words like mantra, avatar, guru, mulligatawny, juggernaut & catamaran have their roots in India.

We will show you how to calmly cross the road during mad traffic.

We will teach you to enjoy it as an adventure sport, which is free at that.

We will teach you to play kabaddi…the art of pulling leg.

We will ask you to take the auto rickshaw for local travel.

We will take you to Fabindia for shopping & hope you make your mind up in one shop.

*  *  *  *  *

We will teach you to say Namaste.

We will ask if you had tiffin.

We will ask if you prefer milk chai or filter kaapi & hope you will confirm you enjoy both.

We will take you home, give you idli & red chilli chutney & hope you can understand our fiery spirit of hospitality.

We will give you samosa to eat & forget to mention it has sharp green chillies within.

We will offer you cold water when you jump 5 feet in the air.

We will offer you ladoo or jalebi to cool the tongue.

We will recommend you try betel nut & paan.

We will not warn you not to smile after that.

*  *  *  *  *

We will tell you (without your asking) about our relatives – immediate, distant, in-between, mother’s side, father’s side …& watch you pass out.

We will discuss wines like there is a vineyard in our backyard.

We will tell you about our religious diversity.

We will patiently explain the meaning of Karma & Maya to you. Including the right pronunciation.

We will get you to join Yoga classes.

We will recommend a bout of Ayurveda.

We will not meet you during rahu kaal.

We will ask that you don’t meet us during rahu kaal.

We will insist on visiting you in hospital – does not matter that you have a headache & would prefer not to meet anyone – we have to show you we care.

*  *  *  *  *

We will take a photo with you to ensure we remember your visit.

We will ask that you do not gift us aromatic candles to express your appreciation of our hospitality.

We will show you the number of candles we have been gifted so far. Infact a candle shop is in plan.

If you insist on giving us a gift, a villa or two in the South of France or Hawaii (or both) should be fine.

*  *  *  *  *

We will do all this & more when you visit India.

Please do visit our country.

Else we may miss an opportunity to ask, tell & do all of the above.

Finally…it is a fact that you would be richer at the end of your visit with a taste of India’s openness, warmth & hospitality!

And…we would have taught you the true meaning of living. Indian style!

 

 

Love Locks of Lithuania

Captured below are love locks I spotted  when  I visited Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.  I was seeing this for the very first time & was fascinated. The story goes that  couples have their names or initials  engraved on these locks &  throw the keys away. I’m given to understand this is very popular in Europe & America . Love  locks symbolise a couples eternal love – I saw several of these & must confess I found this to be a really cute custom.

Here’s wishing all these couples a lifetime of happy togetherness!  May they never have to go fishing for the keys!

This stream holds the keys to many a heart