One of the best descriptions of India by Matthew Belmonte.
I’ve lived in England, the United States, and India. Of all these countries India has been the best, and I would very much like to go back. People ask me why, and I tell them the many reasons to love India — its wealth of peoples, languages and cultures, the sincerity of its many devotees of many faiths, the omnipresence of its mythic narratives and their instantiations in daily life, its ethos of kindness to visitors, the industry of its small businesspeople, the freedom (in some contexts) to bend rules as one bends metal, the jugaad of all the jagged pieces and the all the jagged people into a thing that works. There are the dances, the songs, the colours, the clothes. There are the kebabs and curries and daal and sobji and ilish and misti doi and rasgulla. There are the biryanis and the dosas and the sambar and the fish fry. And there is the land itself: the fog-draped ghostliness of the North on a winter morning, the musty scent of damp leaves and rustling ferns in the cool air of Uttarakhand, the icy warmth of the still-faced Ganga at dawn, the black walls of cloud and the drenching massage of Kolkata’s kalboishakhi rains, the forests, the pebbly streambeds and the crystal-clear glacier melt of North Bengal, the waterfalls of the Western Ghats, the rocky moonscape of the Deccan plateau, the dusty red sunrises and sunsets, the long, sandy beaches of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
And of course there are the frustrations: the on-again off-again electricity, the missed water deliveries, the monsoon waterlogging laced with sewage and typhoid, the corrupt officials, the diffusion of responsibility, the intransigent bureaucrats, the inflexible peons, the confusion of equanimity with inaction, the confusion of story with fact, the lack of environmental awareness, the judicial paralyses, the parliamentary paralyses, the traffic paralyses, the hastily announced bandhs, the demagogic politics and politicians, the sexism, the racism, the compulsion to place one’s wealth on display, the practised lack of compassion for those outside one’s own community.
I know about all of that. And you know what? On balance — on balance, mind you — I love it.