So, we've covered food and music and language. It's just the beginning of the differences and the fascination. Let's move on to religion. Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddism, Christianity...all present in India but dominated by Hinduism. Coming from a predominantly Christian nation, I had never learned about anything else. I believe in God. I also believe that religions all have a different way of worshipping the same God. Different names, different traditions, different idols, different statues. One God. Hinduism is a fascinating world. The stories are magnific. Learning about other religions does not diminish your own. I wish people understood that. I visited a hindu temple when at the wedding of a friend's son. Weddings are not held in the temple as ours are held in the church. Shoeless, I walked through the temple feeling awed, but confused and out of place. Worshippers in the temple did not find me as an intruder. I was welcome. One woman introduced herself and took me around the temple explaining the gods and goddesses. She even gave me her business card if I had any questions...and not in a proselytizing way as our overzealous Christians do. Ganesh is my favorite of the gods. I collect Ganesh items that I can find here.
I can't discuss all the things that make me gravitate toward India without talking about all of the people I have met. In joining the language learning websites, I met people from all around the world. I helped people with English and corrected TOEFL practices (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and taught idioms and slang. In the process, besides hindi, I learned some arabic, portuguese, more spanish and some other bits and pieces of languages and culture. Nowhere in the world were the people I worked with nicer and more polite than in India. I was safe friending Indians as opposed to a couple naked Greeks and supremely perverse Turks. (I ended up making a rule not to friend anyone in Turkey!) I got marriage proposals, requests to get people into the United States, requests for money, and many other things. But none of these things came from Indians. As for my indian colleagues, they have made my work world richer. And who can't like that lyrical accent and head bobble.
So, I could go on and on and on (just ask my friends and co-workers) about why I find India a place worthy of my obsession, but for now, that is my story. I'm not sure how this will all play out but I know that my world has grown tremendously since discovering the subcontinent is more than just a triangle on the map.