India’s Timeless Charm…
When I reached the US of A in 1995, I truly thought I had reached the promised land.
And in many ways I had. Whatever other forces are/were at play, there is no doubt that the USA is and has been the pivot of the visible, material world for the last 102 years.
I had one driving desire, ambition, wish….to study in a good US university. I hated the stultifying atmosphere in all things academic in India and had essentially “understood” nothing, though I had two degrees in engineering to my name.
And like things fated, and that story is too long to tell today, everything welcomed me, open-armed. Against all odds and evens, in a winter semester, I got a scholarship admission to Rensselear Polytech, an excellent private school tucked away in Upstate New York.
Finished my degree in record time, near the top of my class, landed the best job, met the only true male role model in my life….was drawn to the west coast by the ir-resistable call of a siren and the dot com boom…..
Fast forward to 2006, with many an adventure in between, with a long streak as a jobless illegal, skating the lower band of society, meeting magical people….one morning I woke up and everything told me … Vivek, go back to India…Suddenly it felt like I was dying on the vine there….literally….I had never been ill…all those years there, not once, suddenly I felt like I was dying. This land and it’s people, who had given me so much strength, freedom, love, 2 wives (yes, that is a whole other story)…..so much learning and nurturing, suddenly felt like it was strangling me….
I am speaking literally.
I said that to my then wife one morning, that afternoon, out of the blue, unasked or solicited, I had an offer to come back to India as the CEO of a software company.
Just like that.
The magic of a guided life has continued….many stories of magical synchronicities…hard times too, but always full of learning, teaching, richness….
I understand now why I returned…..and why I still love the USA I knew, the people, northern California, the redwoods, the sweetness and innate naivete of my american friends….
But I needed to be home to find myself…
There is a monumental journey up-coming for me in 2016…..monumental and of course I’ll keep anyone reading/interested posted….
But this is what called me to write this wistfull memory piece today…
My dear friends, Maji and Harsh of Paperweight entertainment, who have made my trailers and recent music videos made this beautiful, short documentary of one of India’s timeless cities, Banaras. The oldest continuously in-habited city in the world some say.
India, it seems, if the joy captured here is any indication, will endure…
This is the ras (juice, essence, the ras of Bana-ras) that brought me back…there is a certain authenticity, a wild blend of old and new, a lasting rootedness….and If my guided life continues as it does, perhaps I have a role to play in keeping it thus 🙂
Do share and like and comment on the video, the film-makers are of this fascinating new generation in India, straddling what has probably been the biggest change in all aspects of life and society, in the shortest time, that India has ever witnessed…
It’s definitely not all roses, but it IS magnificent…