Divalicious, thank you for this guest post.
I’ve never been to India, but my journey started a long time back. I grew up in a city, which had a significant number of Indian diaspora. As a child with a naïve mind, I thought all those people around me and I shared a common culture despite the different skin colors, attires, and accents. Since we lived in the same country, I thought we all followed the same culture. When I was about six, my dad took me to a festival that his best friend, an Indian, was hosting. I don’t remember what was it, but there was loud music, vibrant colors, hustle bustle, and food in copious amounts. Needless to say, I loved every minute of it. After that day, I started noticing and reveled in the Indian culture.
We didn’t watch a lot of TV growing up, so my view of Indians was heavily based on interactions with my parents’ friends and other daily exchanges with people from India. Most of the grocery, hardware, and clothing stores were owned by them, so I had this idea that all Indians were rich and India must be chock-full of wealthy people!
When my family moved to the United States, I was immediately drawn to the Indians in my private school. There were very few ‘brown’ people at this school, and even though we came from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, I felt more comfortable being with people who looked like me. This is when I learned about the different subcultures within the Indian society. They opened my world to other aspect of their culture like food and clothes. I still have the sari and Punjabi suit that I bought many years ago. As for food, my family eats naan, curry, and dal several times a month! It’s now an important part of our diet. I was also introduced to henna long time back. I have applied it on my hands on many occasions, and every time I have been fascinated by the beautiful, intrinsic pattern.
As a child, I’ve always wanted to visit India. I now know that it isn’t a country where everyone is wealthy, like I believed earlier, but I also know it’s so much more beautiful than I thought it would be then. I would love to experience traveling throughout the country and getting to know the varying cultures within India. I’ve been to a Hindu temple, but I would like to get to know more about the religion.
I’m not sure I would want to visit the cities. From what I’ve heard and read, they’re very crowded and can be quite dirty. I don’t know if this is true, but if I ever go, I would want to spend time in the more rural areas. I also wouldn’t want to visit during rainy season. I’ve heard horror stories about how much rain and flooding happens during that time of year.
If I were to describe India, I would have to start by saying that I know very little about the country as a whole. My encounters with few Indians are not enough to make a large, general statement. However, I feel that I can very truthfully say that, just like every other country in the world, to me, India and her people are beautiful.
I hope I continue my journey, and make it more interesting by actually visiting India someday. Phir milenge…