Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Travels Through India

Even God doesn't know how India runs; surely the country must run on autopilot because there is no sane explanation for the phenomenon. Indian Government hasn't been able to do it, foreigners haven't been able to calm it down, and travelers have gone native; then what could be the mystery for it being the way it is? It's perhaps sheer obduracy or Maya. The matter has been deftly taken out of human hands and handed over to the gods of which there are plenty; not quite as much as its population which hovers somewhere beyond a Billion. This is my land, which let me grow free; I cannot but be grateful for letting me grow in this chaos and no other one. I shudder to think what if it were Pakistan or any of the Middle East countries or even America where I would've surely collapsed under the overabundance of freedom. I truly belong to the home of destiny.

Just because I left it, doesn't mean rest of the world is not in a hurry to get there. There is no dearth of enthusiasm even though its bureaucracy tries all kinds of tricks to prevent people from getting a quick passage; fees hiked without warning, duration of stay or whether one can stay at all, made thoroughly confusing, and topping it all the impossibility of clarifying anything with the Indian Consulate. This is truly a body of miserable beings, which presents the most unsavory picture of India to the wide-eyed and innocent. Damn you is the attitude when it reluctantly hands over visas to enthusiastic but weary hopefuls. From the moment you apply for a visa to the time you come back from the bombardment on the senses, you must allow yourself pure joy because you have crossed the first hurdle.

Still, India remains one of the top destinations for seekers. This is a land of sheer contrasts with no grey matter in between. From palaces you descend into slums and that leads to Hollywood, which has a fascination for all things exotic. Roads spill with people, trains have to struggle with humans to find their own tracks, buses are bent over with the weight of humanity; there are rickshaws, cycles, cars, scooters, with people riding in them and as many riding while hanging onto them. Nobody cares; your are just one in a billion. Horns blare, bhajans sung late into nights, mullahs yell their prayers before the rooster crows, church bells ring ferociously; and so the noise goes on to the accompaniment of Bollywood music. Jo hua, achha hua, jo hoga achha hoga. Welcome to the land of Fakirs and Yogis!


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