After 11 long years living in India, I am moving finally out and saying goodbye to India. It has been a long time in a totally different country with values and belief systems beyond what I have learned. I loved it despite all the problems India has to offer. And I am sure I will never be that frustrated and exhilarated again at the same time.
What is their secret?
India is a country of extremes with overpopulation and traffic jams on every corner. The pollution in the cities is so bad. that the sky can turn gray at day time. There are people everywhere and the miracle starts when you ask the question “how do they live so peaceful together”. People don’t raise their voice, they smile often and they still pray to their gods. I have lived two years in Chennai, South India and nine years in New Delhi, North India. When I arrived in 2007 in Chennai, I was excited about the new culture where people lived 500 years before. I threw myself into traditional Indian spirituality and religion, which is thousands of years old. I went to ancient temples, did prayers and religious rituals and start to love the Indian gods. My favorites are Ganesha the elephant god of happiness, Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and Durga the protector of the righteous and destroyer of the evil. The Indian gods are colorful, full of hope and happiness and it is a joy o have them around in the house.
Yoga and meditation
India also teached me the art of yoga and meditation. It is very much practiced in public parks and events and even the minister-president of India Narendra Modi promotes yoga and meditation, which I think is great. When I went to do my workout in the nearby park, many people around me did their morning pranayama and yoga practice. But on the other hand, Indians start to incorporate western exercises like running into their routines which complements yoga in a good way.
The invisible web
When I contemplate what India means to me and what I can tell you about my experiences in this country, it always comes back to the connectedness of the people to an invisible web of life. This web is deeply rooted in the ancient culture of the gods and prayers. Without these religious and spiritual traditions, India would be lost in the modern world. This is what I will take with me with gratitude and wish India to survive with ancient beliefs in the modern world.
Goodbye India and god bless you!