Exotic Places: India

Ever since reading Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’, I have developed a fascination for all things Indian.

Here are some of the changes I have observed in myself:

1. I can actually enjoy Bollywood (even the really bad stuff)

2. I eat curry all the time (Chicken Thakmasala is my fav)

3. I know where Chennai is (though don’t ask me what it was called before)

4. I have one Indian friend (her name is Alanna)

5. I’ve learnt the Hindi alphabet (well, sort of)

6. I can name the Indian cricket team (ever heard of Sachin Tendulkar)

7. and all this from reading one book (although it was a big fat book)

Some people develop fixations on China, others on France, and others still love all things Australian. My current love affair is with sweltering, bustling, chaotic India.

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18 Responses to “Exotic Places: India”

  1. tobeme Says:

    You have fallen for a wonderful culture with a deep wisdom. I love curry also.

  2. isaacme Says:

    I wouldn’t say I’m fascinated with all things Indian, but their food is DELICIOUSE. But unfortunately it’s hard to find good Indian food.

  3. Hiren Says:

    That makes us two of a kind. A suitable boy seems to have you a suitable Indian citizen. Hehe

  4. kikipotamus Says:

    I can relate. I fell in love with Iran and all things Iranian/Persian. I bought a big cookbook so I could learn to make national dishes. I took Farsi classes. I went to the special celebrations at Iranian New Year and all the others. I let the Iranian women teach me to dance the way they dance. My dream was to one day read Hafiz in the original. Kelly

  5. ggwfung Says:

    >>kikipotamus

    you’ve got to get in touch with homeyra

    All things Persian

    ggw

  6. ggwfung Says:

    >>Hiren

    A Suitable Indian? I like it!

    πŸ™‚

    ggw

  7. homeyra Says:

    ُSpeaking of devil πŸ™‚
    Maybe we like an “elsewhere” as we feel that our “else-self” will manifest.
    Deep enough?
    πŸ™‚

  8. hroswith Says:

    That’s fascinating. πŸ™‚ I can relate, because I have a similar fixation with China. .. I love Chinese movies and food, have studied bits of Chinese philosophy, I’m fascinated by Chinese history and so on… The tough part is learning the language. I have a couple of grammars – one day I wish to take classes. πŸ™‚

    India is really intriguing. I’m not obsessed with it the way I am with China, but it has a fascinating culture and history and I like learning about it. I wish I had studied Sanskrit when I had a chance. The only books I have about India mostly deal with philosophy and ancient texts (because they were part of my exams at university) but nothing more. My father’s been to India – I wish I could travel more.

  9. jesch Says:

    i find this interesting, since i myself, harbor the same feeling with countries with a deep cultural background, and history at one or more periods in my life. one time, i had this sort-of fixation on oriental stuff, and at another time with everything french, and yes, i had one with with india, too. i watched those bollywood movies, read about the geo-politics, and tried a bit of their dishes which traumatized my sensitive stomach. πŸ˜€

  10. ashmu Says:

    Well Im an Indian, along with Chicken tikka masala there are many other kabas that are delicious like, reshmi kabab, malai chicken etc.. Also along with this Chicken Biryani is also great, it is a combination of rice, cooked chicken which is flavoured…tastes yummy…….

  11. fatsavage Says:

    Interesting that you divulge this as I may be going to India next month on business. I have an Indian friend and partner who was actually born in Kenya and another friend who is part Indian, African and Chinese born in Trinidad. My partner’s children are a beautiful Indian European blend. The Caribbean does give us a strange melting pot.

    Any basic picture books (words are ok if not boring) which would introduce me to the Country before I get there?

  12. ggwfung Says:

    >>fatsavage

    want to pack me in your luggage bag? I’m really skinny …

    I think English will get you by fine. Although I haven’t been there myself of course …

    ggw

  13. ggwfung Says:

    >>ashmu

    you talk like a cook! making me hungry πŸ™‚

    they sound like some great dishes. Got to find myself a proper restaurant.

    ggw

  14. alexmthomas Says:

    πŸ™‚

  15. Rimpi Says:

    Hey ggw

    you must really have a fixation with india since you have started enjoying all sorts of bollywood movies…:-) My background is Indian & I can’t watch everything…lol.
    If you are looking for more indian authors…Rohinton mistry is good and also ‘Midnight’s children’ by Salman Rushdie…the latter is more about politics…but is still good.
    Thanks for adding me to your blogroll…you have been added to mine as well. πŸ™‚

  16. ggwfung Says:

    Hi Rimpi,

    thanks for the recommendations re books. I find that Indian writers are producing some of the best writing today. It seems to be more real, more edgy, but still having a strong storytelling base. “Literary fiction” has a deserved bad name in the west.

    I guess the struggle for life is still strong in that country; it means effort and struggle, but also real joy when one makes it.

    I’m not sure if I take Bollywood seriously. I think sometimes I’m actually laughing AT it. πŸ™‚

    Cheers,

    ggw

  17. shaunak Says:

    Welcome to more than 1/6th of humanity πŸ™‚
    Enjoy the movies and the books, but remember they represent and project a very small subset of India.
    To actually be here is to have information overload your senses every single day. It’s fascinating.
    Hope you can travel to India sometime, and if you do, buzz me.

  18. James Merricks Says:

    I was fortunate enough to spend six weeks in India last year. It is an amazing country and I had a great time.

    The things that really struck me were the amazing cultural diversity, and the perplexing extremes. It is amazing that India can function as a democracy. There are SO many people, with SO many differences, and everyone has an opinion. Some Indians are very kind people; inviting you to play cricket, and then showing you around town. Others can be astonishingly rude; pushing you out of the queue for a train ticket. I remember in Mumbai driving past a beautifully kept, well watered golf course, next to which families in stark poverty had assembled their roadside shanties. A store next to the Ganges had cow shit at its door next to stalls with expensive fabrics in a variety of vibrant colours and styles.

    Indian literature in English is awesome too. I have read some Rushdie and Arundhati Roy. The chaotic picture they paint is accurate, just be careful that you don’t romanticise it too much. There is just as much to dislike about India as there is to love.

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