Many people, Indians as well as non-Indians, ask me why I would want to give up all the conveniences, etc., of the US to live in India. Well, I really don’t feel like I’m giving much up to live here. Convenience is really addictive and I’m happy to be breaking the addiction. But more about that later. Anyway, here are some of my reasons for staying here.
Perhaps the thing that I love most about India is the underlying spirituality that exists here. Sure, materialism is increasing, yet it hasn’t completely obliterated the spiritual aspect of life. Of course, it depends on your own tendencies whether you see more of spirituality or more of materialism. In my case, spirituality is what I’m attuned to. My number one goal in life is enlightenment, and India is a great place for meditation and other forms of sadhana.
Another thing that charms me about India is that it’s a visual feast. As a photographer and writer, I thoroughly enjoy this aspect of life in India.
Of course, I love the people. Most are friendly and warm and incredibly hospitable, especially when you avoid the major tourist spots, as I tend to do. And they are so accepting.
Having been a vegetarian for most of my life, I am delighted to live in a country where vegetarianism is not considered a special, weird diet, and where there is an almost unlimited variety of great vegetarian dishes.
Indian clothes are a total delight. Going around in an outfit that’s as comfy as pajamas, but that looks good, too—now that’s the way to dress! And nothing beats a sari for sheer beauty, and for flattering the figure of every woman. And I love the fact that there are so many distinctive styles of dress across India, especially for the women. It’s so much more charming than places where boring, unflattering blue jeans are almost the standard for everyone outside of the business world.
India is probably the most interesting and diverse country in the world. No matter where you go, there are countless differences from any other part of India. I love that! And you can hardly spend much time out and about in India without seeing something you’ve never seen or imagined in your life. Even life in the slow lane, like mine, brings lots of surprises.
Oh, yes . . . and India is much more affordable. I can live comfortably on an income that would be really, really tight in the US. My basic expenses—rent, utilities, food, phone and Internet—are less than Rs15,000 ($300) a month. All my produce is fresh, and I buy everything organic that’s available, even if I have to bring it or have it sent from elsewhere in India. This is in a small village, which suits me well as I prefer life in the slow lane. It’s possible to cover basic expenses for a few hundred dollars even in the city, if you don’t go for a luxury flat and eating out a lot, but everything else is so much more expensive.
I’m well aware that India has plenty of problems—and I do experience my share of them—but I find so much to love about India that they hardly matter to me. Curiously, I actually feel more at home here than in the US. And, except for the traffic, I feel much safer.
What do you love about India?