Why do I go to India? Obviously I was born there. But why – when many, if not “most who were born in India” and are of my generation, who have lived in the USA for a very long time, and like me are now Americans, never ever go there or want to go there? Now the question is framed better than the one on the top. They are scared of everything that they can conjure up. I asked an India born and educated Doctor friend of mine, who has been living here for a long time only a few days ago, he said, “I do not go to India being afraid – I may die there of a litany of diseases”. I thought well he is a Doctor and maybe in America people die, and for sure everyone does, of no disease, who am I to know I am only a pedestrian and he is a Doctor. Why do I go to India?
Why – because I love India and the Indian people and the Indian culture. Despite all my barbs against corruption in India – I know that Indian people are the most decent, honest and hardworking people in the whole World. You can ask any one of my American friends they will vouch for it – yes Sir! Almost all of American commerce is viable because of hard working honest to the hilt – you guessed it – Indians from India. And that decency and honesty and kindness is very attractive for one like me who in his heart, is still a Simla boy – I am sorry I can never spell it Shimla – never , it will always remain in my heart and mind as Simla . That is the way Rudyard Kipling spelled it and that is the way the British who ruled half of the World from there – also did it. And unfortunately I will not go to my Simla this time – but some day – Yes Siree!
Simla is situated at 7000 feet above the sea level in the midst of the mighty Deodars – the tree of the Gods in the land of the Gods – the Himalayas! Simla is beautiful, with her winding paths that give a walker the fragrant fresh air, blessed by the Deodars; and the spring water of Simla is the nectar of the Himalayan minerals. Simla is also a city, and those who want to see the city find it crowded, and in it all that goes with the crowds. Walking down the pathways and narrow streets and climbing thousands of stair to go from the lower Mall to the upper Mall is just simply invigorating, and the best use of one’s time when in Simla – Walking.
I will be spending most of my time in New Delhi – yes there is an Old Delhi – built in 1640 and then there is an Old Old Delhi built 10000 BC or so – who knows. Next to that old old Delhi, they have now built an exhibition ground, called the Pragati Maidaan – “Ground of Progress” – there is always something great that goes in there – Like a book festival, a technology festival etc. I love to spend lots of time there – lots of time. And I like shopping in India. Although I hardly need anything anymore, except love and joy and good health, of course! I enjoy shopping in India to get things to give as gift to those who cannot do it –shopping in India. I really enjoy observing the method of selling by various vendors in India – their way of making money, their main objective, their way of enticing a customer, their modus operandi. It is almost 100% similar to that of Americans. As a matter of fact with the modernization of communication –America has learned and finally adopted, the age old method of selling from Indians who are programming their computers. A tradition in India forever has been – a merchant after one pays him, always gives back a rupee to the customer as a token of appreciation. And Americans have now adopted that age old system of India, and they now give one a discount coupon for future purchase, if one only gives the merchant an honest review of the current transaction – by email.
The other day I went for shopping in a fabulous top line Department Store in a gorgeous Shopping Mall, where I live in the USA. I was looking for a pair of trousers that I would like to wear in a wedding that I am going to attend in New Delhi. First there was a sign on display Original Price $400 – 50% off – selling price $200. WOW I said, then the store clerk shows up and says, “Sir, if you open an account with us there will be another 20% off – selling price $160 – and today and only today, we have a special coupon that I will give you that will allow you to have another 20% off that, and it will bring down the price to $128; and since you are a loyal customer we will give you another $28 off – so your price today will be $100.” I noticed that the store clerk is from India so I told him no problem I will buy it for $80 if you really want to sell it. Well, to end the story I finally paid $90 for a pair of trousers from the top of the line Department Store that had originally marked it for $400 – how Indian I said to myself!
That is a total Indianization of selling in America. America is – a country I love –Americans love and learn from Immigrant Ingenuity and transform it in to “American culture”. I love American culture – rewarding hard work and honesty and always learning and improvising – that is all. I do feel at home here, while haggling for shopping, because I know very well – that as soon as I go to Costco I will find the same pair of pants selling for $85 – and a $10 coupon for future purchase as an icing. How can they do it? That pant was made for $5 in China – that is how! HA HA! Just like in India.
But then food of India is just mouthwatering YUM; and appropriately YUM is the name of the God of death – because for food we live and by food we all die and taken away by YUM! Like it or not it is the only truth that there is. And the food in India is YUM YUM YUM!! The yummiest food in India is Chat. And “a” in Chat is pronounced as it is in Fast, Last, Vast or Blast – so say it with me the yummiest food in India is Chat!! I love it although my Mom told me when I was six – stay away from Chat and like an obedient son I do, but Mom, Chat does not stay away from me. She is smiling from up above at her naughty Boy who will go to the famous Bengali market and gulp a whole lot of Gol Gappas and Chat (“a” Like in Fast ) Paapri – WOW WOW WOW or YUM YUM YUM. And then there are the mouth watering sweets of India – that this time my Doctor told me to stay away from – totally100 % glycemic --full of Indian sugar (India makes more sugar than all other countries of the World combined and more). India is where sugar cane was developed, invented, produced, harvested – before anywhere else and sugar is almost 10% of all Indian economy and almost 10% people of India, like me are diabetic – and surprisingly they live to be 90 or above – like I will do. There you go Doctor! How long one lives and how healthy one is, is always in one’s mind and not in one’s doctors mind – that is for sure my belief! My fav Indian sweets are in the order – Imriti, Imriti and Imriti others like Rosgulla and Gulab jamun and Milk Cake and Laddoo and of course the Cakes and Pastries of the British origin. But me – I am an Imriti guy.
Of all the visits and things I will do there, a visit –– a devotional and spiritual visit, to the World famous Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai – I still call it Kipling’s Bombay – will be my wish come through once again. Last I visited that holy place was almost two years ago. The Siddhivinayak Temple is a very famous temple in Mumbai. It is also known as Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple. This temple is situated at Prabhadevi in Mumbai. It is a two hundred years old Temple. I believe that Lord Ganesh of Siddhivinayak Temple makes His worshipers – Good Persons – who become honest, happy, healthy , prosperous, famous, kind, gentle, joyful, intelligent , generous and blessed.
People, including me, go to India for many other reasons – India is the place of spirituality – Yoga, Pranayam, Meditation – that has swept the World and now Ayurveda the science of a long and a healthy life – without allopathic Doctors – are solely – the Hallmarks of India. Despite what you hear about Indian health system – on the totally Biased TV NEWS – all my elders like my second mother, my aunts and uncles are all 90 plus and in lovely good health. There is absolutely nothing in – the massive amounts of Carbohydrates that they eat, which has hurt them – nothing. They do not exercise and do not take any medicines at all. They do not know what an aspirin is. But they do meditate, pray and believe in God’s love and his creative and curative powers, and have a strong desire to live a happy health life – all of them. And I am going to India to touch their feet, as is customary in India forever – respecting one’s elders from the depth of one’s heart and seek their blessings – it keeps both the respecter and the respected healthy, and happy.
So I seek your blessings – for you are also my favorite readers for whom I write all this and for your SMILE only.