I am yet to meet a person who visited India and remained indifferent to this country. There are people who hate and despise India and can talk hours about the poverty and bad smell, and noise, and cheating; or there are people who can’t stop wondering at Indian history, Indian dance, Indian cuisine, Indian paintings, Indian architecture, Indian religions, Indian festivals, Indian teachings of yoga and Ayurveda, Indian languages, Indian sacred texts, Indian costumes, Indian music styles, Indian movies, Indian mountains and beaches, Indian forests and deserts, Indian hospitality and generosity, beauty of Indian people, Indian cities and Indian villages, temples, mosques, gurudwaras, palaces, parks and streets.
Is there any other country in this world which has so much of intellectual, spiritual and cultural heritage that it is literally impossible to learn it in one lifetime? Pick up anything from Indian classic culture: Bharatnatyam (or any other dance), Sanskrit (or any other ancient language), Vedanta (or any other philosophy school) and it will take the rest of your life to absorb at least a part of it. And even having learnt Bharatnatyam and Sanskrit you won’t be able to say that you actually know India.
There is India of Hindus, of Muslims, of Christians, of Jains, of Buddhists, of Sikhs, of Zoroastrians. There is India of Tamils, of Marathis, of Bengalis, of Malayalees, of Punjabis and of hundreds of other ethnicities. There is India of megalopolises and of tiny villages, India of the North and of the South (and the North-East India as well!).
No matter how many times you visit India, no matter how many years you live there, there ALWAYS will be something you do not know about. India is too much for an ordinary human mind. We fail to understand how can this subcontinent have so many secrets and treasures, how can Indians teach us anything, from politics to inner peace. If there is a place in this world that has everything, it has to be India.
Amazed and excited, seeking for more knowledge and beauty, we keep coming to India. And, in her kindness, despite being cheated and looted many times in her eternal history, India has never closed her gates to anyone.
**This write-up is an account by Anna Stepanova. She was a student at the University of Hyderabad and identifies herself as a Bibliophile