It’s about love. In all senses of the word. It’s about having this big love for your family, your friends, the world, everything. It’s exemplified in Bollywood- the enormity of emotion. In the West, we have a very limited view of love, mainly referring to the romantic kind. Maybe that’s because we are a much younger civilization and haven’t quite figured out how to express the nuances of this amazing force. But in India, that sort of love is directed towards everything and everyone. I was hanging out with some new friends I made in Mumbai yesterday, and it was amazing- they treated me as if they’ve known me forever and brought me into their friend circle, making me feel so welcome. And it was genuine- absolutely and completely genuine. This isn’t new, as the same thing happened when I first came to India in college, where new friends took me in and treated me as their own, again, no questions asked, no strings attached, just..because. I haven’t been able to be in touch as much as I want, but it’s one of those feelings that you know they’re not judging you, and that bond you have is still strong. Family in India is the same way. They take you in with open arms (friends of yours included) and treat you like their own son or daughter. It’s incredible.
There is this great definition of love by Ekhart Tolle, in The Power of Now- one that really resonates with my world view.
Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her. The bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.”
I think I would expand that definition to say that anyone who has the capability of reflecting back this intense love, has the ability to form strong connections in this world: with friends, family, nature, society.
The more I live in India, the more I realize that there is no one “India”- be it culture, language, tradition, religion. But the common theme to me, and the one thing that I love most about being Indian, is this love.
So I think to me, being Indian means being capable of exuding that love, and reflecting it back on the world unconditionally.
And if you are my friend, whatever race, culture, ethnicity, I probably consider you Indian.
And I want to thank you for that