As I bask in the unconditional love and sensory experiences that India offers at every turn,my thoughts go back to my global family in the USA,the country I will always be indebted to for helping me the light when I was in the darkest abyss of life.The country which has given me family that goes beyond the relationship of blood or labels,friends who have been a pillar of strength to my daughter and I at every step.The country which has opened my heart,given me wings and grown my roots!!!
India is my motherland ,stepping down from the airplane to this blessed land after 11 long years of lessons on life and love,it took all my self-control not to bow down and kiss the earth as i loudly sang SARE JAHAAN SE ACCHA( an Indian patriotic song describing the glory of the nation)as my embarrassed 13-year-old daughter looked on.
India today is the fastest growing economy in the world.The land that conjures up images of snake charmers,elephants and starving people to the unexposed mind has a G.D.P rate of 9.1% and adds to the millionaire count at the fastest rate in the world. India is the oldest culture in the world.It is diverse and complex ,experiencing India is like tasting a buffet of cuisines on your palate.It has the largest millionaire count in the world yet the poverty is stark and undeniable.It has a spiritual history older than civilization,people entrust themselves to the will of the divine before any new beginning, bow in obscience to elephants and the images of the thousands of gods ,yet corruption is rampant in big and small ways. It has had women in position of power since times immemorial,the female form is worshipped as shakti,yet female infanticide is prevalent.India has the untouched ,breathtaking and virgin beauty of hills,forests,deserts,oceans ,landscapes and colours that would make Wordsworth and Van Gogh write more poetry and create more art,it boasts of being the abode of the cleanest village in the world,yet you can find garbage and dirt strewn around cities and monuments which are heritage of the country.India has given the world physicists,writers,economists and artists; yet illiteracy is a challenge.
India is not for the feeble hearted or the overly rational minded.It is not for someone who thinks that the woman labourer who carries a load of cement on her head and a baby on her hip as she toils in the sun should be reported for child abuse.It is not for someone who thinks that garbage on the street and cows grazing lazily qualifies it for being a third world country. It is not for the mind that thinks because people bow their heads to elephants and worship cows, they should be educated on science and technology.It is not for those who think that because many educated women fast and pray for the long lives of their spouses; there should be a feminist movement in India. It is for the minds and hearts, that are equally open to pain, poverty, and all the darker shadows of life; as they are to joy, economic development, and the shades that add color to this journey. This by no means is advocating to become non-chalant or immune to suffering and injustice, On the other hand it is a plea to all of us to try to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” To walk on a path that will benefit all beings; but with dispassion and non-judgement.
India is myriad of sensory experiences; of color, of love, of noise, of art, of culture…..and without any bias of being under the intoxication of God’s own country, I have to say that it needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. As a t-shirt I bought says, ” Come to India! One billion people can’t be wrong!”You will either be enraptured or overwhelmed by the offerings of India
To enable my family in the U.S; to experience India; I will be offering ‘Food, Fitness, and Faith’ to the country. The trips will be an experience in the rich cultural heritage, the diverse art, the loving hospitality, the therapy of yoga, and the science of Ayurveda. It will be transformational to the mind, body, and spirit. My dear friend Pravin Agarwal (a PhD in psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies) says, “One trip to India is worth a thousand sessions of therapy.”
My first retreat will be in September 2012 to Delhi–the heart of India–adjoining areas, and the northeast areas; which contain the untouched virgin beauty of India. So get those passports, fasten your seat-belts, and get ready for a journey that will began the metamorphosis!