I was at the India Festival in Charlotte, yesterday. The few hours spent there, sprouted so many thoughts that I had to transfer it on the blog to make some room in my head for other things.
Let me start with the 'mahool' (translation: ambiance). The streets that house the tallest buildings of Charlotte city looked no different than an Indian mela-maidaan (translation: fairground). The stalls on both sides of the road and the stage right under the BoA building, restricted traffic in the downtown for two days.
|Beautiful sarees, lehengas and anarkalis that adorned the streets! |
The gentlemen in kurtas, did not go unnoticed either.
But it was the smile on every face that ruled the roads.
As I walked towards the epicenter of fun, guided by the loud music, I could feel a gush of excitement inside. The Bollywood numbers had already got me into the celebration mood. The stalls with beautiful Indian wears and sparkling jewelry called my name out loud but I ignored and paced towards the food stalls.
Indian food on the streets!! Now that is what I miss about not being in India. Street food! Who cares about hygiene when the taste buds crave to be satisfied.
|Delicious Samosa-Chaat from Persis|
|Spicy Paav-Bhaaji by Probasi of Charlotte|
The rush to reach the cashier, the rubbing of shoulders, some being 'ignorant' of queues, others being too occupied to apologize after bumping into another, no 'thanks-sorry-please', no cordial smiles... Some how, it did not bother me today! It just felt informal. Not indecent. It reminded me of people back home and their ways! It was amusing :)
And then there were these Indian-origin kids with impeccable American accent, dancing on Bollywood songs! I am not sure how often they visit India and I doubt that they use only Hindi at home but their lip-sync was perfect. Their 'latke-jhatke-thumke' (translation: dance moves) were just as good as Hrithik & Madhuri's and for today, they looked more Indian than international.
|Punjabi Dance performance by kids|
The non-Indians were seen to enjoy just as much. Relishing the flavors of India and thumping their feet to the music, they blended perfectly with the crowd.
Apart from a few, I knew nobody but they were not strangers. There was a bond between us- the Motherland Bond! We were out there celebrating being Indians, on foreign soil.
|I never miss a chance to pull out my Indian wears!|
It's amazing how we draw comfort from the presence of fellow-countrymen, when we are miles away from home. A visit to the temple, connects us with our culture. The availability of Indian grocery saath-samundar-paar, makes life easier. Celebrating Holi-Diwali-Eid-Onam-Lohri brings us all together. Living away from home is not easy but we have managed to build little-Indias around us and have learned to happily adopt the foreign land as home.
Isn't it true for Indians around the globe? Or, for that matter, immigrants world wide? We are a new race. We are the 'People of the World', who build homes where ever they go, embrace cultures and befriend strangers!
Cheers to the harmony that remains untouched by communal hatred!! May it spread and prevail till eternity!