Sunday, December 13, 2009

India - karma or obsession

This post is dedicated first of all to my friends from Twitter who stubbornly use to ask me what is my connection with their country. On the other hand I think time has come to actually answer myself if this is a karmic thing, or simply an obsession built up in time due to various elements.
Well, I guess everything started in childhood. I had the privilege to be literally brought up in the cinema hall, as my parents worked their entire life in a cinema. As I have confessed to many so far, my oldest memory is from a movie - a cut head rolling down a hill and the beheaded body covered by a purple cape. Well, in former Eastern European countries, movies coming from India represented a steady and most beloved presence (and who claims otherwise is a pathetic liar). So, my first contact with the Hindustani land occurred in the magic shelter of the cinema hall. Movies like Aradhana (Vandana in Romanian), Haathi mere Saathi (My friends, the Elephants), Awaara (The Vagabond), Shree 420 (Article 420), Ek Phool Do Mali (A flower and two gardeners), Yaadon Ki Baaraat (The chain of memories), Raj Kapoor, Mr. Amitabh, Kabir Bedi (in Sandokan Series) simply helped the Romanians to evade from their gloomy world and dream of a land that seemed to be like a fairy tale.
In time, when books became another source of getting knowledge for me, I discovered Eliade and his wonderful love story - Maitreyi or La Nuit Bengali.The book describes the relationship between the author and the young Indian Maitreyi Devi (a protegée of Tagore), who became a famous writer herself. For many years, Maitreyi Devi was not aware that the story had been published. After reading it, she wrote her own version of the relationship in 1974 - Na Hanyate (It Does Not Die - in English).In fulfillment of a promise Eliade made to Maitreyi that his novel would not be published in English during their lifetimes an English translation, of Mayitreyi, Bengal Nights did not appear until 1993.
Well these two books had a great impact on me on a superior level and made me discover more about India and in the process I went through all the already known clichéd stages (yoga, gurus, high spirituality, Mother Teresa, Gandhiji etc. - must admit crazy times were these and kind of weird). But my quest was not on the right track and for many years India simply lingered somewhere in a corner of my mind until some time around 2000, when all of a sudden India started to be in the news.
At that time my personal profile registered a huge change - from the book addicted philologist and an "elite intellectual" I had turned into a new to be economist and my mind had become more opened to the mechanisms that hide behind different societies. Little by little, my image about India absorbed different aspects, like history, social rules, governmental rules, development trends, you name it.
Caught in the hectic world of professional career, gasping desperately for time, once again I grabbed what was at hand to ease up my information hunger. Bollywood (oh, boy, and I have seen quite a huge number of glossy and unrealistic Bolly flicks) and Internet (youtube made history from this point of view). Year after year I watched in awe and with increased interest the changes India went through.
Well, last year something bizarre happened (unfortunately it cannot be shared) and all of a sudden things (big or small) related to India were coming my way on a regular basis (like receiving a sari from someone who most probably wanted to get rid of it and had no clue about my interest in India). Things that can be explained only if karmic or obsessive.
Once I wrote my first tweet the craziness exploded. The easiness I connect with people from India (though we come from complete different cultures, with complete different values) goes beyond the normal, kind social media rules. Twitter also had a great deal with my decision to relocate and leave my country, just because somehow I believe on a long shot my destiny and fulfillment is in India.
My closest friends from home are quite appalled by the idea and they hope it is just another whim of mine. I fear and hope it is not.