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!

 

 

An Early Lesson in Humility

One of my favourite memories of childhood…with a lesson for life!

I started cycling to school from Standard IV.

Until then I would often go “dubs” with my elder brother on his bicycle. With this mode of transport, more often than not my back would hurt  so I’d get off mid-way & walk the rest of the way.

Other times my Dad would drop me to school by car.

I certainly preferred the latter.

*  *  *  *  *

Day 1 of cycling to school.

It was now time for the return home from school.

I got on to my cycle. Pride got on to me.

“Tut Tut…not grammatically correct” I hear the English purists say, but what the heck… 🙂

I could not help but think of my friends who had to catch the bus back home.

Here I was in a more elevated position with a bicycle, according to my esteemed 9 year old view point.

*  *  *  *  *

Swaggering style. Over confidence.

One hand on the left handlebar, right hand waving at those mere mortals – schoolmates of mine at the bus stop.

I focused a bit much on the passing them, looking at them, waving at them…in short impressing them.

C-R-A-S-H

*  *  *  *  *

My cycle rammed into a man just ahead carrying a baby. Beside him the wife.

Funny position for him to have landed himself.

Baby in hand, legs astride a school girl’s cycle.

Humbling for me. Humblifying x 100. Humblification.

All this in front of my schoolmates.

The very ones I wanted to impress with this my superior mode of transport.

It was not over.

*  *  *  *  *

A swift  t-h-w-a-c-k  on my back.

Zestily delivered by the wife of the man carrying the baby.

I said sorry.

She snarled at me in Tamil  “Yenna, s-a-a-a-r-y?” (“What, sorry?”)

This too in front of my schoolmates.

Hell hath no fury as a woman whose husband carrying her baby has been hit into. Accidentally notwithstanding.

*  *  *  *  *

The soberest ride back home. Of whatever distance was left.

Pride comes before a fall.

Apparently it’s true.

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