India in Color

I’m leaving for India. Are you interested?
A few days ago, I wrote the above question as my Facebook status update. Happily, a sizable number of people — both longtime friends and new friends (and some relatives) wrote back warmly and positively. They all said they were interested.
About twenty people either “liked” my question, or wrote something in response. If you know how Facebook status updates work, it’s ever-fleeting: it doesn’t stay for too long on a regular Facebook user’s home page. Other status updates come up from other friends, or you post a new update, and they all scroll down the home page one by one, taking over and pushing the old update into oblivion. Life’s new scenarios come forward, and old stories quickly become just that: old stories.
What many Facebook regulars do these days is that they repost their old status updates that they consider to be important or noteworthy. Then, people who you wanted to draw attention from, and who had missed it the first time, would now have a chance to chance upon it, and comment to satisfy your yearning, or some say, ego.
So, following that state-of-the-art new media conversational process, indeed those twenty first-installment friends and their gratifying responses satisfied me. Now, reader of my blog, if you are not on my Facebook, I couldn’t give out the names of those responders for privacy’s sake; and I sincerely invite you to join my now-wow-list of three-thousand-plus friends. Meanwhile, I’m sharing here *some of the responses* I received on that thread, without ID-disclosing the responders.
Response #1. “Yeah…. Am eagerly awaiting your arrival……”
Response #2. “In a free ride? Yes!!!” (she’s from Australia: their sense of prepositions is kinda outbackish 😉
Response #3. “Terribly so.” (I’m sure she meant well 🙂 a kind-hearted person, I know)
Response #4. — Here’s a good one: “What if all your 3179 friends show interest?” (I’d be overjoyed if they did 🙂
Response #5 — “This side of the Suez Canal, we are all waiting…:) ” — I know this person. Goodhearted, kind and warm and all, but she’s always been poor in Geography. She got mixed up between India and Egypt 😉
[and so on…]
Then, after a while, a different response came in. My friend Bill wrote:
“In the past, I had no great interest in seeing India, probably because I coiuld not separate from all the movie images of a British-tainted India. But you have shown me a different perspective, and would be VERY interesting to see it through those eyes, though I doubt the Indian office of tourism would be thrilled. However, the timing is not good for a trip. But I hope yours is fufilling, personally and professionally.”

Gunga Din to Indiana Jones to Slumdog to Born Into Brothels: the Distortion is On

Very insightful, indeed! Let’s see what and how many elements of interest can we find in Bill’s insightful comment. (By the way, I hope I’m not putting my good friend Bill on the spot. I’m just using his thoughts as a boiler plate, so to speak, to cook up some more thoughts that immediately come to my mind, whenever I see such comments; and I do it over and over again with high appreciation.)
Element One. — “In the past, I had no great interest in seeing India.” — Okay, no problem. Easy to understand. But why not?
Bill immediately explains it.
Element Two. — “probably because I could not separate from all the movie images of a British-tainted India.” — So, even good friends like Bill who keep an open mind and want to learn about other civilizations and societies, in this case outside of the U.S., have in their minds deeply ingrained, and probably fake, twisted and distorted, negative images of India courtesy mainstream movies. Jungle Book, Gunga Din, and the other Rudyard Kipling genre movies and novels have always done a great job to keep the Western audience misinformed about India and her people. Then, much later, Indiana Jones movies (Lost Ark, etc.) have done it even better. And, finally, who can forget about the modern-marvel-misinformation of City of Joy, Slumdog Millionaire or an Oscar movie I personally worked in — Born Into Brothels?
Element Three. — “But you have shown me a different perspective.” Aww, thanks, bro. Only if you could rub that onto my Indian would-be-rich-and-famous friends who would perhaps have a totally different perspective about your perspective about my perspective. (Now…read it one more time…if you please 🙂
Element Four. — “would be VERY interesting to see it through those eyes.” Bill means my eyes. I know. That’s a smarty-pants way to avoid expenses and time and hassle to visit India. I get it, Bill. You want to visit India at my expense, especially when I’ll be a couple of thousand dollars poor and at least a dozen pound smaller (sicker) coming back from eating carbon monoxide and lead from taxicab exhausts and sidewalk chicken rolls. Nice thought, Bill 😉
Element Five. — “though I doubt the Indian office of tourism would be thrilled.” Now, that’s not fair. I was planning to write about the romantic-sensual-erotic side of India too in my weekly write-ups, including vivid descriptions of Konark and Khajuraho stone dems (google images) and Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai diners. I don’t see any red flags raised by Indian tourism offices! Now, when I start writing about non-erotic subjects such as politics or poverty, that’s a different story. But I never plan to mix them up; in fact, I hope to make some little money selling my hot tourism stories, with no political masala, whatsoever.
I also plan to write more about the Indian women and how they have touched me — remember I told you that would be an ongoing story? Here’s your chance to get back on that mold. Promise it’s going to be exciting…at least fun. People tell me they liked the previous episodes.
So, that’s it for now. Tired and exhausted of finishing up long list of to-do’s before I leave. Excited and thrilled that I’m going back to a place I know so well and care so deeply about.
I hope you keep in touch with me on a regular basis. I plan to write, as I said before, at least on a weekly basis. On India. On the land of Tagore. On the land of Kabir. On the land of Sri Chaitanya, Buddha, Nanak, Tulsi Das and Mirabai.
I plan to write about the live reincarnations of the above legends too. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

I Look Forward to Meet You

I’m leaving for India. Are you interested?
By the way, I never really told you and you never asked this simple question: interested in WHAT?
Tell me now, when you get a chance.
Sincerely Writing,
Brooklyn, New York