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Patina

SLOW | BY HEERA

December 5th, 2016

 

A plethora of emotions tends to engulf me when I set foot on Indian soil. Fortunately, the unexplainable chaos steers me from overthinking. I am forced to navigate India’s disparities—the clamour for shared transportation, expensive chauffeur-driven cars, impoverished pavement dwellers, mushrooming luxury hotels and blaring music from teashops—each jostling for a spot. These contradictions feel at once alarmingly natural as they do disturbingly strange. India is a land of contrasts, where old systems juxtapose with the new growth and ancient traditions collide with contemporary thoughts. India carries the weight of its past and constantly wrestles with growing issues (including population). And somehow, in the craziness of it all, life works out, almost.

On arrival, the order of the moment is always the same—to have a piping hot cup of coffee to combat my jet lag (or so I would like to believe, knowing very well that coffee does nothing more than satiate my taste buds).  So what is this home? Is it a building, social class, friends or perhaps impressive things? This narrow thinking of home is restrictive. Home, to me, is in the layered complexities of life, which can’t be segregated.  I find this home in the drifting fragrance of frangipani, quiet moments that speak for themselves, fishing boats at dawn, speeding fuming trucks, calls of fruit vendors and even the annoying honking! This home resides in unarmored conversations and genuine hospitality. The poor’s graciousness and magnetic courage are as much home as the dignity of the very few (emotionally) educated who live minus flashiness. To put it in a nutshell, I find home in the abundance of India’s land and its people. Here, abundance is not just a cool borrowed word; it’s an integral part of life.

 

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