There is more than one thing that has been part of my world as an Indian, which has made my life different and special. I have grown up in a rather traditional environment, even though there was no real strictness regarding the same. It was a world which was influenced by more than one religion, and more than one language – there was the influence of more than one community, and more than one style of living here. We had more than one culture, but there was that unity in diversity, which helped us to follow what has been our way of living for a long time, that is for sure.
Among all those things, there is the skill to drive anywhere, and it is something that has been achieved by driving for so long on our roads, going on from the time when I was eighteen, to now our fourth car which is the first diesel car I have possessed. There is so much skill that you see on the road, that you feel prepared for any roads, anywhere. So many things happen on the roads, and there is also a certain amount of forgiveness that happen regarding the traffic on the roads. As long as you obey the traffic rules, you can use the skill that you have gained in this traffic as use it anywhere else, as we are not new to any kind of road.
Surviving with just gravy has been another skill which I have managed to possess in the last few decades. Who needs a side dish or curry when there is gravy, or maybe we can have food with just a little sugar. The simplicity in food has been something which this new generation which is looking for only taste, needs to understand. We just need the food to survive and live through our existence, and we do not live to eat. Wasting food has been considered a quality by many who has too much to spend, but for a developing country like India, food is precious, just like water which has been becoming scarce.
We have also been closer to tea than coffee which is rather the drink of the privileged. Going for the drink of the common man, there has been a better understanding of how to keep it close to the common man rather than to go for the elite class. Tea has always had that quality, which is why India had taken the decision to make it our national drink. We have always loved the drink too, and the tea shops have been the places where the common people gathered, from the towns to the villages, talking about various things, and understanding each other as well as the problems. I have had days surviving just on tea!
There is also this feeling that we have, that never goes. There seems to be some problem with this in the recent days with some people in a few places with low education, but otherwise we have found it easy to have more and more cultures and traditions here. I have always wished for more religions and communities around me despite the fact that we have three of the world’s major religions around. It is the culture of the other that is so fascinating for us, and unless everyone starts to feel nothing other than pure hate for the other, which seems to be a growing tendency, we are all proud of that unity in diversity, and the real Indians are only looking for more of such beautiful diversity.
The great kings from our past has been always in support of such diversity, which should be why there were so many settlements of people from far away. We have always been welcome to new things, and something to add to our already colourful culture – there was nothing against accepting new knowledge and improving our world. I am sure that some events might make people doubt the same – but that is not the case with India as a whole. The essence of this culture hasn’t been lost yet, and those who claim to protect it aren’t the ones who are the real Indians, for it is about those who live according to the same, and let others live too.
There is this mutual respect that has been practiced in the Indian culture from a long time ago, that has been part of our blood too. It is the one thing that will raise our status among the nations, along with that strong spiritual side. This spiritual capabilities has been misused, but in its true essence will go on to become stronger than ever, as hate and abuse has no real existence in our culture. We have always wished for happiness and peace all over the world, and it is where we shall return to. It is for the same that we keep trying, praying and hoping during these days.