Sunday, June 7, 2009

What is India?

If you are looking for the regular dose of humor to lighten your day, I am very sorry to disappoint you. There isn’t an ounce of wit in this post. This article is a result of some deep thinking, folks. Come now, you don’t have to look so stunned. I can think deep thoughts, if only occasionally. Read on to travel through the deep recesses of my mind that would afford you a glance at all those deep thoughts. :-) (Ha ha ha…) That is as much humor as I can muster up today. Now on to the post.

Learning of our upcoming trip to India this summer, my husband’s colleague, an American, requested if we could bring back some ‘curry’ for her. I was completely intrigued by this request. What is ‘curry’? What it represents for her may not be the same for me. In fact I am sure of it. Made me wonder about what ‘India’ represents to the world on the other side of the picket fence. After all that deep thinking, this is what I figured.

To many, like my husband’s friend, India is synonymous to a rich and aromatic blend of spices that tease the senses to explore beyond the realm of imagination.

To some, India is beautiful tanned women clad in yards of silk and dresses fashioned on mind-blowing color palettes and materials.

To some, India is hand-woven Kashmir rugs that can be bought at high-end retail stores for an arm and a leg.

To some, India is over-achieving children and their ever-worried parents crowding their neighborhood schools, Kumon centers and spelling bees.

To some, India is sandal incense sticks and small wooden elephants found at the World Market.

To some, India is the unruly person that buys a fan in May at Wal-Mart, uses it through the summer and returns it to the store in August without batting an eyelid for a full refund.

To some, India is heavily accented and overly polite customer-service people answering tech-support calls in call centers from the remote towns and villages of India.

To some, India is elderly couples walking the streets of their town in traditional Indian clothing throughout the year pushing strollers or holding the tiny fingers of their grandchildren.

To some, India is the population that stole their jobs, the country that lit the firecracker leading to the unpardonable ‘outsourcing’ explosion that chopped off their paychecks.

To some more, India remains a distant dot on their planet that has no relevance in their everyday lives.

To me, India is home. With its power outages, ever-increasing traffic, no-end-in-sight corruption and bureaucracy to its fabulous colorful billboards, sensational shopping alleys, mouth-watering food and most important of all, the extended large family that I left behind, it is the home that is beckoning to me now.

I will be home next week. Yay, yay, yay......

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

U have portrayed India in a nutshell Meena. Great post. the multifaceted India comes across clearly in a well thought out, good post.
Krithika

Shaan said...

Poignant.. truly picturized India as it is.. a mystery even to those who call it as home.
Add to the list this:
couples, with their children in tow, hurrying through deparment stores clad in all finery, on the way to a party to pick up a hostess gift!
Great post Meena!

Meenakshi Sankaran said...

Thank you, Krithika and Prashanti, for your feedback. India is so many things to so many people. Just tried to sketch a few viewpoints here, that's all.

Thank you for stopping by. :-)

sury said...

Yes. Pure air and fresh spring water, ever clean roads, a self-disciplined medical system which infuses confidence in the minds of public, emergency and police vans which rush within minutes of call ARE never heard of in our land, of course.
But with all these, the Indian mind looks for something else amidst the chaotic confluence of cross cultures of all men and women who reside there, and finally, in disdain and sadness, though not explicit, decides to return to motherland one day, where there would be love, harmony and bliss, pure and simple and where they would find a real HOME.
And That is India.
and that is our culture,
which dollars could never buy.
subbu rathinam.
http://vazhvuneri.blogspot.com
http://movieraghas.blogspot.com
http://menakasury.blogspot.com
http://ceebrospark.blogspot.com

Sreelatha said...

Meena you really had the nerve to say a few things that people dare to do but (Eg: Returning merchandise) thats the shameful truth. Well written, I envy you Yaying about your stay there soon. Anyway have a blast!

Meenakshi Sankaran said...

Sury sir,

Welcome to my blogpage. I have seen you on my friend Kavinaya's page several times and have listened to your songs too. They were wonderful.

"But with all these, the Indian mind looks for something else amidst the chaotic confluence of cross cultures of all men and women who reside there, and finally, in disdain and sadness, though not explicit, decides to return to motherland one day, where there would be love, harmony and bliss, pure and simple and where they would find a real HOME."

I am not sure I agree fully with this statement that you have made. I do not believe that all those people that leave India to go abroad to make a living end up drowning in despair and sorrow wishing to return to our motherland looking for love and peace. I love my home abroad just as much as I love my homeland and am blessed with a community that is next only to my family.

Once again, welcome and thank you for your feedback.

Meenakshi Sankaran said...

"Meena you really had the nerve to say a few things that people dare to do but (Eg: Returning merchandise) thats the shameful truth."

Latha, it always bothers me when I see people misusing the stores' 'Merchandise return policy'. I am not talking about taking back a dress that doesn't fit or an appliance that is broken but buying something and using it thoroughly then taking it back to get their money is just not the right thing to do. But like you said, people do it and it is the shameful truth.

Thanks for your wishes. I intend to enjoy myself on this vacation.

Viji said...

Hey Meena, very eloquent posts. I am sure I'm not the neighbor you were referring to :) India is so dear to me too Meena because of all the things it is and all the things it is not...so hopeless like a child who wears his shirt inside out everyday, yet so lovable.

Meenakshi Sankaran said...

Viji,

Welcome to my blog page.

"so hopeless like a child who wears his shirt inside out everyday, yet so lovable."

I couldn't have said it any better.
You know who I am talking about on my 'neighbor' post, don't you? :-)

Iellalouisa said...

Feeling a mixture of emotions............ choked up, and slightly amused at the same time! Great post!
I really identify with this post. We are going to India for the whole of December, and the requests have bordered on ridiculous! One of the mums at school wants an 'au pair' and my neighbour wants me to bring back an Afghan rug! I am going to Delhi, Punjab and Bombay- none of these places "sell" any of these!!!