The simple and astonishing truth about India and Indian people is that when you go there, and deal with them, your heart always guides you more wisely than your head. There’s nowhere else in the world where that’s quite so true. – Gregory David Roberts.
Today India smells singular. You could smell it before seeing the sunrise and before the bird starts singing their sweet patriotic melody. It is the sweet, sweating smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and it’s the smell of pride and unconditional love, which is the opposite of greed. It is the smell of gods, demons, empires, and civilizations in resurrection and decay. It is the blue skinned smell of the sea, no matter where are you in the country, and the blood-metal smell of machines. It smells of the stir and sleep and lives of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats. It smells of heartbreak , and the struggle to live, and of the crucial failures and loves that produce our courage.
It smells of ten thousand temples, shrines, churches and mosques, and of a hundred bazaars devoted exclusively to perfumes, spices, incense, and freshly cut flowers.
It is the worst good smell in the world!
It smells of people: Assamese, Jats, and Punjabis; people from Rajasthan, Bengal, and Tamil Nadu; from Pushkar, Cochin, and Konarak; warrior caste, Brahmin, and untouchable; Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Parsee, Jain, Animist; fair skin and dark, green eyes and golden brown and black; every different face and form of the extravagant variety, that incomparable beauty.
It is this smell. It is INDIA.
Today India celebrates its 66th Republic Day, and I am just going to smell this air of Indian history and culture and breathe humility and honor of being an Indian. A human.