I’ve come to terms with destiny. I’m going be one of those people that can’t stop saying, “India was just so wonderful,” or starting stories with, “Yes, when I was in India,” or answering questions, “Oh yes, I did that in India.” I am serious, it’s a problem. I have a henna tattoo all down my arm, suddenly recognized a compulsion to wear scarfs, and overnight about 1,000 tunics appeared in my suitcase.
On the evening of the auspicious leopard (see–now I’m even using words like ‘auspicious’) we were all sitting around the table taking turns explaining how full we felt. Spices and Naan have the amazing ability to expand into the walls of your stomach to about three times their original size… or maybe I’m just eating three times the amount of food I think I am… not important. Despite our exclamations, Ritika and Priyanka looked down at our just-scraped plates and lamented that we were “not eating.” There was still so much to finish!
“So much” is my response to a lot of India. It is a packed and stacked country. There are layers of fabrics in shops, layers of flakes and butter in bread, layers of car colors and horn tones in traffic, layers of architectural styles, layers of people in delhi.
The country is famed, in part, for the kind of poverty depicted in movies like Slumdog Millionaire and that is certainly abundant in India, but more important to the tone of the country is a general abundance of everything. While our friend Virat was ordering at dinner he suddenly nodded, gestured definitively with his hand and said, “well we’ll have that too!” He then turned back from the waiter and explained to us, Indians decide by having both. Suddenly everything made sense. This is a wonderfully undiscerning county, it has everything both ways. No wonder I love India so much. I never have to choose when I’m here and, more importantly, I never have to convince the county to choose me. What I mean is, I’m not a stranger here–I’m just here too.