Being Indian

15th August, 2016.

The aroma of spices overwhelms your senses as you take a stroll down the street in the morning. This is India, it hits you straight in your face and through my twenty two years I have unconsciously developed this very characteristic that is an imperative part of my personality.

Being indian is the splotches of vibrant colours drenching a white canvas of clothes which brings together the whole nation irrespective of caste, creed or social status. I bring with me vibrance and vitality in the form of baubles of joy in the small pleasures of life. I carry in my pocket a small drawing given to me on a trip, of a young village girl throwing an array of gulal(colour) on her school headmaster, this represents equality, where we are all bound together by a common energy that is accentuated by the festival of colours: Holi.

Being Indian is the recycling of knowledge that I see when a young boy in a monastery spends hours chanting under the nose of his guru. It is the serenity of an old man placing his hand over a young monks head and imbuing in him the wisdom that has been passed on for generations. I hold a sense of duty to share with others who are younger and less priveleged.

I look up to see a silent spark explode into a thousand extraordinary particles of light, conquering the sky and moulding that second as one that will never fail to make onlookers feel infinite . The incessant roar of fireworks on Diwali (the festival of lights) never fails to capture the attention of every person below. Infused in me is this valuable characteristics of rubbing off a little bit of light on the people around me and burst the mundane routine of just accepting things as they come.

With a smile on his face, the common man of India immerses in the Ganges a small flame of hope that drifts silently along the river with a hundred others. I store in me a sense of determination that light will always be seen at the end of a tunnel and that hard work and dreams merge together, no matter what the situation around me is.

I hold with me the memory of women dressed in sari’s with hands intricately decorated with mehendi and bindi’s on their heads at an Indian wedding, I haul with me years of tradition, customs and values that shape my respect for others and at the same time, allow me to hold on to my own beliefs.

I see an young boy with a twinkle in his eye and a water bottle in his hand. His steps are enthusiastic yet cautious. He looks down often, to look for potholes, he looks up often, to look at the row of streetlights on at midday, bolstering the sun in it’s hard task of providing light. I have learned this attribute of deliberate caution and alertness through the years for any task: big or small coupled with the quality of doing things wrong and still being able to finding some positivity out of the blunder.

Amidst the swarming traffic a street dog calmly manoeuvres his way through the honking, high speed cars and autos. It evades the zooming motorcycles which come from nowhere and nimbly runs across the road full of noisy drivers, each of whom needs to get to a place quicker than the other so finds it vital to squeeze into every empty inch of the road he sees. If the dog could speak I think the first words it would say when it securely reached the other side of the road would be:

“Thank God!”

They say there is so much chaos in India that we know there is a God, because only God could run it. Flooded in me is the need to put energy on the table and find my head even when everyone else is losing theirs. I have learned to take things as they come and be ready for the unexpected, to be able to overcome obstacles and find some way or the other to get to where I want.

It is these impressions of ordinary people, customary events and repeated actions that define being Indian, for me.