Namaste. Welcome to India. I assure that you will have an enriching experience during your stay. My name is Ria Gandhi and I will be your tour guide on your visit to India.
India is essentially a land of simplicity. Simple people, simple cities, simple festivals and simple rules. First things first, let me brief you through the journey.
You will be taken to the four metros of India. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta and a few stops in between. On your ride, you are free to enjoy the rosogullas and the aloo tikki. You must try the pani puri and the dosas. Apart from that, we feast on a meal of roti, sabji, chawal, suh-laad (salad), pakoda, dhokla, chhole, naan, dal and jalebi. Simple menu no?
Our first stop is a collection of seven islands, home to Bollywood and the fisher folk, Mumbai. Its Ganesh Chaturthi festival will leave you in awe of the elephant headed god as you see idol after idol blocking the meter wide roads of
Bombay Mumbai. (My sincere apologies, Thackeray :P) It’s not the idols who block the road. It is the processions and the non stop road orchestras. I assure you it is quite natural if you find yourself complaining about hearing impairment the next day.
Make sure you have the spicy pani puri and the chaat of Mumbai that will leave you running for water all around. You will not get clean water from a Kinley bottle. Oh no, that is just water filled in plastic bottles from taps. If you really want to go for hygiene, go for the golas. The ice flavored candies, a specialty of Mumbai, will leave you sucking on the ice long after the syrup has drained off. I assure you that the vendors use the finest quality gutter water. I challenge you to find a tastier gola than that found on Chowpatty beach anywhere else in the world.
The Chowpatty beach
The Taj Mahal. The word speaks for itself. Don’t be surprised if your mouth drops open as the first rays of the sun bounce of the cool white marble bathing the edifice in a warm golden glow. The building reeks of love. Love of Shah Jahan for his pride and honor. Love that overwhelmed him to such an extent that he made sure the craftsmen of the Taj Mahal had their hands cut so that it could not be duplicated.
Your tour guide 🙂
Disclaimer for the ladies: Be careful to cover yourself in the holy city of Haridwar. You wouldn’t want to break years long of penance of our priests, right? The pundits detest skimpy clothing, you see. As for themselves, they prefer to keep it minimal. Just a sheer see through waistcloth for their ash smeared bodies would suffice. Like I said, we prefer simplicity.
a sadhu in Haridwar
Harki Paudi on the banks of the Ganga
We then visit the great Mother Durga, and her kohl lined three eyed figurines. She holds a striking pose as if watching over her Calcuttians as they gorge on the rosogullas.
Let’s travel a little down south. Here are the banana leaf platters and the finest of dosas, lighter than a muslin cloth. You have the intelligentsia here, who speak nothing apart from Tamil and undiluted English. Talk to them in Hindi and they will gape at you as if you are a mental asylum resident. Why bother learning the national language when you are aiming for globalization? Simple, no?
Traditional banana leaf meal
Finally coming down to India’s people. Like I said, we are a simple folk. Our politicians are very simple too. This simplicity is reflected in our rules. We believe in dealing under the table than over it. Over the table only talks are made. Of abolishing poverty, hunger and misery. We make sure we stay faithful too. Faithful to our countrymen as we make those promises year after year.
India isn’t a land of hypocrites. It is a land of simple people with simple rules who don’t follow what they say.