India may have its share of problems and its people may have to endure a variety of hardships, but no matter where in the world you go, there’s always a piece of your heart that remains back here. Indian immigrants have a tougher time settling down in any new country, as compared to most others. No matter how good life might be in that new country you call home, there’s always that deep yearning for the motherland. There’s a reason why India totally ruins every other country for you, and we give you 10 right here.
Indians sure do love their cricket and they certainly let it show. No matter which part of the world you travel to, you will never find the same kind of enthusiasm and passion for the game. Although you may come upon sporting events that are even bigger in scale, drawing even larger crowd, nothing compares to the camaraderie and excitement of an Indo-Pak match.
India is renowned for its hospitality, but it’s also known for its shrewd businessmen. Despite the great business acumen of your local ‘baniya’ or grocery store shopkeeper, there’s a good chance that against his better judgment, he will give you a line of credit. Yes, if you’re short on cash, haven’t yet received your allowance, or are waiting for your salary to come in, your local storekeeper would wave of the charges and tell you to pay him later. This is in fact so common across the country that there’s a term for it – ‘udhari’.
Although there may be parts of the world where it is safe to sleep with your doors unlocked and wide open, it’s unlikely that you would be welcome to wander in next door. In India, on the other hand, windows are barred and entrances even have double-doors, but you can be sure that your neighbors’ homes will always be open to you. Whether you visit a chawl or a high-rise, most Indians share close bonds with their neighbors, treating them more like extended family.
Once you’ve eaten various Indian foods there’s nothing that will quite satiate your taste buds. With our incredibly diverse population, comprising different ethnic, regional, religious, and cultural groups, India’s cuisine has more variety than one could possibly imagine. From a South Indian Dosa to a North Indian Chole Bhature, every dish has a distinctive taste and rich flavor.
You may have eaten gelatos, tarts, puddings, and mousse, but nothing will give you the heady sugar rush of Indian sweet-meats, when you’re craving something sweet. If you’ve been raised on a steady diet of laddus, pedas, jalebi, rasmalai, gulab jamuns, and malai sandwiches, there’s a good chance that your mouth is already watering at the very mention of them! Yes, that’s how good they are. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; every region of India has its own wide range of sweetmeats, from the famous Bengali preparations to those of Gujarat.
While every part of the world has unique festivities and celebrations, none are quite as colorful and boisterous as Holi, in India. This is one time when you have license to run amok with colors and water, being as unruly and carefree as you could possibly wish. The rain dances, Holi parties, and family get-togethers for the festival of color are unparalleled in their frivolity and enthusiasm.
Diwali is probably the most famous and widely celebrated of all festivals in India. Although many of these festivals are religious in nature, the celebrations are embraced by one and all, as they are very much a part of our collective culture. The ‘Festival of Lights’ is celebrated with great fanfare across the country, with decorations, string lights, lanterns, diyas, and colorful fireworks. Obviously, those delectable sweetmeats also figure prominently in the celebrations.
You will find a Starbucks in almost every part of the world and inviting roadside cafes in most of Europe, but one thing you are unlikely to find anywhere outside of India is a ‘cutting’ of tea. Local tea vendors, better known as chaiwalas, with their ramshackle stalls or shops can be found across the length and breadth of the country. Truth be told, most Indians would not be able to function without that periodic cup of tea, and a ‘cutting’ is just the right size!.
Visitors to India often talk about the warm welcoming nature of the local population and with good cause. While generosity and hospitality may not be exclusive to India, the extent to which people go just to make you feel welcome is nothing short of amazing. If you travel through any part of the country, especially in rural areas, including draught-stricken regions, you will be humbled. Despite all their hardships and the daily struggle to earn a living, most Indians will open their doors to you and share the little that they have. It’s easy to be benevolent and generous when you have a lot to give, but sacrificing the little you have for the betterment of a stranger, that is something special.
India is at the forefront of the digital revolution today, but it is also home to an ancient culture. Despite its embrace of modernity, globalization, and liberal values, the population still celebrates their deeply rooted traditions. The meeting of old and new is visible in almost every city in this country, not just in its architecture, but also in its people. If you head out for a morning walk or evening stroll, you can be sure to come upon fitness-enthusiasts in track pants or shorts with their iPods, while you will also come upon others practicing the ancient art of yoga, and Brahmin priests heading to the temple in their traditional robes. This seamless blending of old and new never ceases to amaze.
This deep connection that Indians have with their motherland goes beyond the stereotypical ideas of patriotism, religiosity, or spirituality; they strike a deeper bond on a human level. India helps us discover the best in ourselves and the endless possibilities in those around us; it helps us believe in the good of mankind, despite the villainy of our politicians, and that says a lot.