This is not a review, but just an observation. I was watching Eat Pray Love (which is a great watch until you realize Indians NEVER take an year off). But what I noticed most obviously as Indians always do, is how the west perceives us. And the movie and the book is perhaps the best representation of the country’s spirit I have seen or read in the recent times. For a person from the west, and I intend no racism here, it must seem like this land of loud noises and chaos. I remember someone being told by a German, how they just do not honk in their country. I suppose even the exchange students from Europe must find us unimaginably loud!
Having never really traveled abroad, I have nothing really to compare my country with. But this I find to be true. We are in our own world so chaotic that we manage to find some lame sense of joy in our chaos. We laugh at a lot sillier things than most people foreign to this country do, and for the most part we just laugh because inherently we all seek joy and never really lose track of what we are seeking.
I look at the lack of political stability or the rising prices and the frustration of the people and wonder when a class struggle would break out in our world but the truth is it won’t. Even the poor and the desperately hungry smile in India, and I wonder why is it that they do so with nothing in their hands, no agenda for the day, no dreams, except to just last the night.
We might not take year long trips to a guru or a medicine man in Bali, but we find our true selves in a different way. We all have our moments of silence even at the edge of chaos. We find peace in crowded trains of Mumbai, and are just as loud in our spirituality. As I write this, the temple in my campus tolls its bells to remind us of some sense of conscience, the mosque not too far away reminds people to finish their five prayers of the day and somewhere on a Sunday church, the priest says the same things in three different languages for people to understand.Understand what I wonder?
God is important to us; even the atheists in India believe in the lack of him and thus, religiously, avoid temples and churches. We are called secular for a reason, a majority of us believe in the existence of different paths to god, we just sometimes think the path we take is more important than someone else’s.
We are proud because sometimes we welcome ruin. “Ruin is good” says Elizabeth Gilbert in the book. It helps you transform and that’s what we have done, for centuries even before the west found us. We transformed and each of us takes deep pride in the history they are a part of. We don’t need an year round trip, we eat, we pray, we love, all in the same country.