Posts by Narmadhaa

Blogger. Dreamer.

Greener on the other side

“So tell me, why should someone visit India?”

“Er—”

When my friend asked me what’s good about India, I couldn’t come up with anything.

The only reason anyone from the first world or a western country should visit India is to understand how much privilege they have over the people of developing countries.

It’s eye-opening. Even the smallest things like a proper footpath are non-existent. Things you’d take for granted, like safe neighbourhoods, pedestrian-accommodating road rules, recycling systems, garbage trucks are all still tucked away under a vague five-year economic plan that may never see the light.

But I know all that only because I’ve lived there. I’ve wallowed in that toxicity for so long that I’ve come to hate everything about it, no longer recognising, or even acknowledging, the good things.

I wanted to leave–for a better lifestyle, a better society, and better mental health.

And I’m fortunate that I could. But—ain’t the grass always greener on the other side.

India is a beautiful country—to visit. It plays host to 780 languages, the second largest number in the world. Thousands of cultures practice millions of traditions every day. Aside from their historical practices, each group that speaks a language has many religious beliefs as well. And so, every language, throughout the years, has served as primary communication among different religions and castes (family groups). Not only does this magnify the number of classifications amongst Indians, but it also depicts the diversity that thrives in India.

For me, that’s a whole lot of unnecessary complexities that lead to political and religious wars. And that disgusts me.

However, this diversity is also why India (most of it, anyway) has a rich heritage and open-mindedness in welcoming foreigners. People love to show off—whether it’s their customs, tales they grew up with, dances passed down over generations, food that’s comforted pained souls for ages, they enjoy sharing with anyone curious enough to ask and invested enough to respect.

That’s priceless when you’re a traveller.

Even though every corner of the country, every urine-smelling alleyway, every open garbage dump, and every infected street dog nauseates the average person, that’s also where you’ll find charming old ladies selling fresh flowers for your hair. You’ll see short-tempered fruit and vegetable stall holders bickering with each other who’s got better produce. You’ll run into juice vendors who’ll pour you a glass so full that you have to take a sip first before carrying it away. When you chat with them, you’ll learn their struggles to make ends meet, to pay their children’s school fees, to wake up every morning with only three hours of sleep. And yet, as you pass these everyday people on the street, you’ll realise that despite all the harsh realities of their lives, they still try to smile, share, and celebrate spreading joy around them.

India is a “developing” country—been that way for decades. And it’s hard to say when, if at all, it’ll offer its people the comfort and luxuries that’ve become a norm in other countries. Regardless, Indians try hard every day to make their lives a little better than it was the day before. And that’s worth a visit.

Oh, and the Himalayas probably makes it worthwhile too.

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A windy, winter day in Canberra

Sweep away

long and bare
arms reaching out
body chilling
he pleads
mercy

praying to the cold and grey
ruthless sky
heart clenched with ice
dripping shards of hate
just being 
unperturbed by a leaky belly

swooshes the gale
slapping sideways
arms swinging
he sighs
winter 


Photo: Another windy, winter day in Canberra

Go ahead

you’re always in front of me
every time we go out
you walk ahead
strutting along, a know-it-all
playing the guide, a role
as a warrior father
mean protector
for a shady, puny figure

but honestly,
you’re just in my way
blocking my sight
overshadowing

what am I, a child?
am as good as you
a little darker, perhaps
and shorter sometimes
yet weaker—never!

a puppeteer you are
waving arms amok
yet I do follow
like a puppy its master
trudging along
wagging after

behind you always
helplessly
like a slave 
a snake
dancing to your tune
your bidding
biding my time...

echoes a whisper in my ear
grazes my cheek
rise with me
it says lifting my limbs
my spirits
above humans, petty peeves
and I rose
for the first time 
over your head, ahead of you
midday is my dawn
shadow my name

Give me a break!

kicked
around the room
from one end to another
a mindless show of spinning
like a hunter chasing rabbits
a child its dreams
as a runner on a winter morn
out of breath 
wheezing
rasping for air
for a pause—
from the cold chase
gosh, what a wild goose

shoved around for fun
serving bullies all along
a plaything for the kids
to get ‘em off the parents
who pine for a quiet night

this way and that
unclear what’s what
blindly running
a duty of the distraction
that’s done, only ends
when the game’s over
or footballers tire
Bondi Beach, Sydney

Ocean view

face showering smiles
sending joy for all to share
nature does with waves