India is a land of diverse cultures…So many languages, customs, festivals… so many lives to live within not so far distances.
Well, I had grown reading and hearing about this diversity but I guess for the first time I am experiencing it .
Even after spending more than 23 years in the country now, I am having new discoveries everyday during the work and specially while travelling to the exteriors of Kolkata. I embarked on this incredible journey as a fellow with American India Foundation to learn and explore more about the development sector in the country but I never expected that it will also serve me so many other rich experiences and happy surprises on the way.
to name a few.. Commuting here is very different form the most places I have seen in India.
Food… hhmm.. I am vegetarian in Bengal. So I am stuck there. Though Street food has certain commonality.
Language…no matter how close BENGALI is from HINDI, I don’t get in the remote parts. However, my interactions with the field trainers are always fun. I try to explain things in HINDI and they act like they understand but they don’t.
Festivals… Now this was the biggest surprise. I come from the land of Rajasthan which apart from having millions of their own regional festivals also celebrates all big national ones. But then I encountered something beyond expression. The festival of DURGAPUJA which beats all other I have seen so far. Technically it’s a 5 days celebration but Bengalis have so many warm-up Pujas before and so many after the main ones. But during those 5 days the entire city is on streets and the madness is endless. Here are some glimpses of the CITY OF KOLKATA IN COMPLETE JOY DURING DURGA PUJA in a small video.
Overall for me , this fellowship started with the service of India …. and now I am also on the path to relive my India.. !!