Wednesday, June 17, 2009

India- the colourful and vibrant land!

Well, it is truly said that "Variety is the spice of Indian life." But why variety is the spice of Indian life? It is so because of the distinctive languages, cuisines, arts, crafts, customs and traditions of each region make India an unending journey of discovery full of pleasant surprises. The food we eat, clothing we wear and habits we adopt, of an Indian differ in accordance to the place of origin. A festival or a celebration is never constrained to a family or a home. The whole community or neighbourhood is involved in bringing liveliness to an occasion. Likewise, an Indian wedding is a celebration of union, not only of the bride and groom, but also of two families, maybe cultures or religion too! Similarly, in times of sorrow, neighbours and friends play an important part in easing out the grief.

You know that the national dress of India is the saree. A saree is six yards of unstitched cloth that is skilfully draped to impart grace and elegance. Also there are other traditional dresses worn around the country include the Salwar Kameez and Lehenga Choli. One more thing I would like to say that bright hues and intricate patterns are a common feature of Indian dresses. Modern Indian women on the metros wear western dresses like their male counterparts and the universal 'jeans and t-shirt' are popular amongst the college students. Also, girls like skirts, shorts, capris, etc. these days as a western dress.

If we talk about our Indian cuisine, it is also very popular all over the world. Today, Indian cuisine is so popular across the world that London is believed to have more Indian restaurants that Delhi. You won’t believe this but this is true. The secret of the Indian cuisine lies in the skilful use of spices. May be all doesn’t know this that while 80% of Indians are vegetarian, though fish is a major component of the diet in the coastal region. The southern part of India has a distinctive style of cooking with the predominant use of rice and coconut. And in the same way the food habit of Eastern and Western part of India is different to others.

You know, though Hockey is the national game of India but in cricket, crazy Indian forgets everything and enjoys cricket a lot. Well, lack of resources is hardly a setback to the game which is played in every street corner and cramped back a lley. While India's performance has not been quite as good as it should have been, it is expected that modern training methods and more competitive spirit will give a better medals tally at the next Olympic Games. We are Indian and a cool Indian!!

India has still a very old and traditional school of Music and Dance. Master performers train long and hard under a 'guru'. Performances are viewed by large and appreciative audience. Vibrant folk and tribal art forms also prevail in parts of India but are gradually dying away. Many government and non-government organisations are taking initiative to keep these traditional art forms alive.

Even today, when the western concept of medicine has reached its zenith, there are people looking for alternative methods of treatment for its multifarious qualities.

Modern Indian painters like MF Hussain, Ganesh Pyne and Anjolie Ela Menon are making waves globally. Works of Indian painters are believed to be a good investment in the art market today. Indian literature too is a treasure house of wisdom and knowledge. From the ancient religious text to modern day writers are a long unbroken line of authors who skilfully tell their tales and comment upon contemporary life in India. Modern Indian writers who have received acclaim are Vikram Seth, Arundhuti Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri and many others.

No commentary on culture and tradition in India could end without a mention of 'Bollywood' – the great Indian Film Industry. Established in 1896 today India produces largest number of films in the world. Well known for romance, violence, music and dance the popularity of these films across the world has been phenomenal.

Running through the myriads of kaleidoscopic impression of Indian culture and lifestyle is a constant desire to make a perfect and unique blend of the old with the new, traditional with the modern and eastern with the western.

Yes, the beauty of the Indian people lies in their spirit of tolerance, give-and-take and a composition of cultures that can be compared to a garden of flowers of various colours and shades of which, while maintaining their own entity, lend harmony and beauty to the garden - India!