Thursday, March 18, 2010

"I" Is For India - Alphabe Thursday, 3-18-10

"I" Is For India - Alphabe Thursday, 3-18-10

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday

No, I was born in Georgia in the United States, not India - but India is the country of my heart.  Perhaps I lived there in another life, if you believe in that sort of thing.  All I know is that, even before my visit there in February of 1997, I had become intrigued by this country which is the seventh largest in the world, land-wise and the second most populous country.

India has over four thousand miles of coastline, with the Indian Ocean to the south, the Bay of Bengal to the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. 

  Sunset at Cochin by exfordy

Cochin, now called Kochi, is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, one of India's main seaports.
It is often referred to as "the Queen of the Arabian Sea."

India has one of the world's fastest growing economies, yet it still suffers from overwhelming poverty, illiteracy and disease. Many U. S. companies outsource work to India and pay workers substantially less than they would workers in the U. S. for doing the same job. I find this practice shameful. I feel that Indian workers deserve better salaries.
Street in rural India by mckaysavage

I became acquainted with many Indian crew members during my travels with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line which actually has a hiring office in Mumbai. Many of the crew have become personal friends and, because of their kindnesses, my interest in India grew. I found them to be such an endearing group of people who added so much joy to my life. I began to learn more about the culture and history of the country. I tried Indian food which I found incredible with its exotic spices and different tastes, depending on what part of India from which the cuisine came.

India is a country from which four of the world's major religions came - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.  In the first millenium, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam also were accepted.

India gained its independence from Britain on August 15, 1947 and became a republic in 1950.  The country continues to suffer from terrorist attacks and dissension from various factions from time to time.  Its military is the third largest in the world, consisting of an army, air force and navy.

According to Wikipedia, "India is the world's most culturally, linguistically and genetically diverse geographical entity after the African continent."  One must allow ample time on a visit to this country to adequately see all this diversity, from the Himalayas to the oceans.

Sunrise in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu ( formerly Madras ) is the southernmost state of India and its most urbanised.

Kalpa, India by snotch

Kalpa is in northern India in the Sutlej River Valley, in the Himalaya.  It is famous for its apple orchards and its many Buddhist and Hindu temples.

During my stay in India, I was the guest of a friend from Royal Caribbean.  He and his family made me feel like royalty as did everyone in his village near the Sahar airport.  I had brought two dozen small Energizer squeeze flashlights as gifts for the children in the village so our nights were lit with the sight of them running about, like fireflies, with thier little lights, calling out, "Carmen Auntie, look at us!" 

The women were so beautiful in their multicolored saris and matching scarves, especially on Sundays when they wore their most special ones to church ( many in this village were Catholic ).  I would walk the streets of the village and enjoy the wonderful smells emanating from each house and, often, I would be invited inside to taste some delicacy. 

One day, we went to Bandra to shop.  What treats were in store there - entire shops full of bindis and bangles, caftans, beautiful gold jewelry, Bollywood films ( ohhhh, those actors are so handsome and I have become an addict of Indian film! ).

My dream is to return to India in the fall and to stay an entire six months.  Hopefully, this way, I can visit the places I couldn't see with only ten days in the country, see many of my Royal Caribbean friends ( I am known there as "the American mother of the Indian crew" ), and truly get to know MY India on a much more personal level.

Indian market by mckaysavage

Dances of India by Hyougushi

Painted temple roof by mckaysavage

Taj Mahal by voobie

Beautiful mendhi artwork by mckaysavage

Palace at Jaipur by Ahron de Leeuh

Bangles by mckaysavage

Rural Indian women by mckaysavage

I would like to express my gratitude to all the wonderful photographers on flickr who have their work on the creative commons section which I have used here.  My post would not have been nearly as special without them.


  1. SUCH beautiful pictures!!! Beautiful colors, beautiful people. It really is such a special place, isn't it?

  2. Thanks for sharing, Carmen. You must tell us more.

  3. Great and interesting post

  4. The photographs were visually STUNNING!!! There are so many facets to the country, aren't there?

  5. My Sweet Hubby was there in the 1970's. It is high on our list of places to go. I love the food and the Sari's. Your photos are so warm and inviting.

  6. Carmen, I hope your plans to spend 6 months in India come true. It is truly a country of amazing colors and smells.

    I watch an occasional Bollywood movie myself. Loved Monsoon Wedding (although I know it isn't truly Bollywood).

  7. Beautiful, rich, intricate colors and photos...and I can almost smell the exotic scents as I walk through the markets in the my mind!

    I really hope your dream comes true.

    It sounds like you will know where to go and what to see the minute you set foot in "your" country!

    A+ for an intriquing and lovely post.

  8. Very interesting post with beautiful photographs. I learned a lot about India.

  9. those photos are wonderful ... and the topic is totally intriguing!

  10. I really hope that you can make that trip to India. Thank you for this amazing post!
    I have a little award for you in my blog, I hope you like it. :)

  11. Anonymous1:28 AM

    Carmen make sure if ur in India drop over my parents would love to meet u


  12. Every Indian needs to read this post to understand what India is with your perspective! The things you have mentioned are sometimes Indians are not proud of, and I feel bad for that.

    It's a wonder that such a forward lady from such a forward country is mad about India, still a backward country in my opinion. But I am proud of it being backward instead of being forward in using up everything. However, I have a sad feeling with the recent development activities all over India destroying the original India super-fast. The places I have seen remote a few years back are full of people now. India needs to stop urbanizing/developing and needs to stick to be a raw nation with beautiful nature.

  13. when you say really sounds so beautiful.....

  14. Wonderful post on India. I am totally facinated with your travels and detailed views of all that charms. India is my fav too!

  15. This is an intriguing country to me too, Carmen! Fantastic post, and the photos are amazing!

  16. Really beautiful pictures! I have a friend who has spent quite a bit of time there.

  17. Beautiful, well-written post that is both informative in a general way and yet, at the same time, conveys a unique and personal conviction.
    I am not surprised that you are intrigued by India. It seems to be the kind of place that has the range and vastness that suits your intellectual curiosity.

    I regret not visiting India when I knew a friend of my grandmother's who had been a missionary for twenty years there. Her parents were missionaries, so she was actually born there. She knew Hindi and Sanskrit as well as about five other languages. But it was not to be. She died twenty years ago at the age of 91 - on a trip to her beloved India.

    Hope you get to take your trip to India one day. Please write about it, in some form. I for one would love to hear about it!

    Best wishes,

  18. thanks for the beautiful post...i too fell in love with india on my visit 4 years ago. it remains my most favorite trip and i hope to repeat it soon!

  19. The smile that Indian women are bright is impressive.
    An almost infinite inner space spreads through there.
    I feel the Indian grandeur.

    Thank you for introducing it.

  20. I too love India, although I have never lived there...and I too believe I have lived past lives...Very nice post...enjoyed it, and the lovely selection of pictures...Namaste

  21. what beautiful photos...I love the marigolds.....

  22. A lovely, special post Carmen. Yes, take off and live in India for a while. It is already your home, simply awaiting you :)

  23. Sorry to re-post; I just wasn't sure if it got lost in cyberspace or not. If it's a duplicate please feel free to delete it.

    Wouldn't that be wonderful to stay in India for 6 months. It sounds like you've made some really special friends there and that's the best way to learn about a country. I love the picture I get in my mind of the village children calling out to you as they run and play with their flashlights in the night.

  24. I have been fascinated by India and it's peoples and cultures since I was a teenager (that's a long time). How wonderful for you to have visited the country! Best wishes for another amazing visit!

  25. MrsJenB -
    I do hope I will have photographs to rival these borrowed works of others when I return from my sojourn in India. It is a wealth of contrasts and visual beauty!

    lakeviewer -
    I've just been cruising and renewing friendships with many Indian friends who, as always, invite me to see them when I am there. I can't wait to go!

    baukje -
    So glad you liked this India post!

    Kat_RN -
    I wish I could claim these wonderful India photos but they are the work of Flickr members who are willing to share. Some of them are so stunning. I hope I have learned from some of them so I can take equally impressive shots when I visit India the next time.

    Anonymous -
    Dearest Edsel - of course, I will visit your parents when I finally make it back to India. I only wish I could have been there for your and Gisela's wedding. What a happy time that was.

    Bhavesh Chhatbar -
    Like you, I lament that modernization often destroys the true beauty of a place. It would be very sad, indeed, to see radical changes in India. All too often, young people, especially, don't cherish their heritage and culture, wanting to become high tech and the "now" generation. I would hate to see the loss of those who know the traditional dances, etc.

    Hitesh -
    I'm sure you think your country is beautiful, too! But, sometimes, I think we tend to take our own countries for granted and we lose sight of that beauty.

    Travelingjoan -
    There is so much I hope to see and I think I can accomplish much in a six month stay. I am blessed to have friends all over the country.

    Anna -
    I wish I, at least, knew Hindi! I think that might be helpful in traveling to some places where English is not so commonly spoken. At any rate, I'll smile a lot and, hopefully, communication won't be so difficult. Most places, I'll be with friends. I will, of course, do a great deal of writing about my visit.

    Christy -
    I am so glad you, too, love India. I hear that from almost everyone who has been fortunate enough to visit there.

    Ruma2008 -
    You would take such marvelous photographs in India!

    jeff campbell -
    Thank you so much for reading my post on India. I hope you will read the ones I write from there after September 2010.

    Melinda Cornish -
    Glad you like my flower pictures.

    Shaista (Lupus in Flight) -
    I've just come from a four day cruise where I visited with several dear Indian crew friends. One lives in Kerala and has extended an invitation to me to stay at his lovely new home there. People are so wonderful and hospitable! I will be with friends so much of my time there.

    Steph -
    If it weren't for all the good friends I've made in India, I don't think I'd make the trip for six months...but I feel so welcome among them, they are like family.

    Amanda -
    Since I am 65, I think this will be my second and final trip to India so I am really happy that I am going to be able to make it such a special one.

  26. My name is PJ. -
    I am grateful to the Flick photographers who allow their work to be shared. Several of them do such incredible, colorful photography!!!

    steviewren -
    I'm crossing my fingers that nothing goes awry to keep me from heading to India in late September - monsoons should be over by then!

    I loved "Monsoon Wedding" as well. Did you, by chance see "Kama Sutra"?

    Icy BC -
    Unfortunately, I didn't take any of those photos...I don't know where my India pictures are, even the professional ones done at the Taj are missing!!! I hope I come across them as I start going through all my belongings in preparations to downsize and move into smaller quarters!

    GardenofDaisies -
    The photographers in my post all had an incredible eye for their subject matter and were amazing with colors, etc. I was so impressed!

    Betty (picture circa 1951) -
    Glad you gained some knowledge of India from my post. I learn something new about this country on a daily basis.

    Jenny -
    So glad you enjoyed this post. This Alphabe series is such fun. I am sorry I missed the latest "J" one. For some reason, the ship's internet connect kept cutting out so I finally gave up!

    fullet -
    The award meant a lot to me....thank you so much, dear friend.

    Jo -
    Your kind words are much appreciated!