I have won the 3nd Prize in the 2021 nano-Essay Competition, “Flash Truths – Taking India’s Pulse”, organized by DownloadingMyMind (DMM) in association with the Society for Public Studies(SPS). Eminent Judges selected the winners. My intention behind writing this essay was to highlight how the Indian life is beyond the scope of explanation.
Plurality of living
The Indian life is a life of omnipresent paradoxes. It is as traditional as my thaali and as modern as the microwave that is used to heat it. Pizza, the epitome of life in the west, once cooked, tastes the same from the first bite to the one that follows. You eat the same pizza as I do, we can share our experiences alike. But a thaali, is a life of combinations and plurality. My first bite of the thaali is different from the next, which is different from the last. I may drench my roti with pickle, while you choose to live with the subzi. You eat the same thaali as I do, our experience simply cannot be alike. In this regard, the Indian life is an embodiment of living plural truths. There is simply no yardstick to compare. The western dichotomy of the modern and the traditional evaporates in the Indian heat.
There is no contradiction in my naani smearing my new laptop with a tinge of vermilion. And neither is there a contradiction in the chaiwalah’s act of casually stirring ginger and cardamom in the snooty british tea. The Indian life is a life of adaptation- to Indianise everything that comes strolling our path. There is a greater pleasure in sipping the poorly spelt ‘Thums’ up than an eloquent CocaCola because it gives us a sense of our own. The Indian life lies in the reclamation of the self, or the aatman. Even within this paradox of what the Indian life embodies, there is certainty in one aspect- the Indian life is the Indian’s alone. And as hard as we try, this hybrid experience, transcending space, time and culture, will remain intransmissible.
The pleasure of living the Indian life, is our staple comfort food of ambiguity.