India is one of those countries where you can just walk out the door, pick a street corner, sit down, and watch.
The events that unfold before your eyes are more fascinating, enjoyable and further thrilling than sitting in front of the movie screen at the theater. And what’s even better; it never ends.
I came to Bangalore about a week ago and was happy to be met by the greeting from a friend that came and picked me up at the airport, despite it being way awfully late in the night. After an exciting but somewhat endangering bike trip on dark and unhealthy roads, I once again entered the city that I’ve been so captivated by in the past.
Somewhat later, on an early morning, before the sun strikes with its piercing heat, I walk down one dusty but already crowded street. I’m trying to imagining walking down a similar road in Sweden, then putting this scene as a layer on top in an attempt to compare the two visions against each other, but it’s impossible. The difference is too complete.
A mule comes passing by, slowly dragging on a heavily loaded carriage with a weary driver sitting on top. Two slender women with enormous urns balanced on their heads are walking with precision behind it. Beyond a fence there are two trembling horns sticking up from out of a trough. When bending over I see they’re attached to a skinny goat, who on its knees, is head deep down indulging from the source of water.
I am passing a construction site for a new house being built, but here are no derricks to be found; people are building it by hand. The younger men carrying blocks of stone up the stairs, carefully delivering to the next one in the chain, the women are cleaning up the remaining dust with their brooms, children are playing in the mountainous heap of sand nearby and an older man seated in a chair, and giving instructions when needed, is calmly overlooking the whole process.
On the next crossroad I have to wait for a herd of passing cows before I can move on. On the other side of the road, three barking dogs are standing in a circle, but the sounds are drenched and lost in an overwhelming orchestra, played by the furious honking of vehicles wanting to proceed. The cows are not adjusting their pace. Leisurely moving along, they look about the same as if they’re just having a midday snack.
When the space is cleared by cows it is instantly swapped with rickshas and scooters, and I have to zigzag over the street to avoid being hit by the continuous flow of traffic which is increasing with every minute.
After an enthralling 30 minutes walk, I reach the destination, open up the gate to a taller building, walk up the four flights of stairs, and seat myself on the rooftop together with nearly 15 other natives from the neighborhood. The view is amazing with the rising sun slowly crawling its way up in the east. In total silence, the old teacher enters the plateu and it’s time for today’s class of yoga.
Yoga is completely new to me and I have never done anything like it before, but I figured, where would be a better place to be initiated if not in its originated setting; India.
Since the first time I immersed in this structural chaos—I still go on being as fascinated by this country’s culture, its overwhelming loads of traffic, its sincere people and their happy attitude towards life. There is something imbedded in the culture here that makes it so pleasant to be part of it.