Monday, October 20, 2014


Indelible footprints of India everywhere.

The western world had a misconception about India and Indian lifestyle 60 years ago. Foreigners imagined India to be a land of Snakes and Snake charmers living in tree houses. When I heard about this, I had a hearty laugh. To me India was a spiritual country with rich cultural heritage and sound value system. I would spend hours arguing over the spread of Indian culture across the globe. I would talk about the sages and Rishis of our historical past who left no stones unturned to disseminate the Indian Philosophy and Culture across the Globe.

As I grew up, I realized with wonderment how Indian way of life was influencing the world. India is a colourful and vibrant country with magnetic charm and pulsating with life. With such irresistible qualities, it is no wonder that Indian way of life has diffused into the world and created a stir in its own way.

In this complex world of stress and strife, Indians offered a panacea to the world by way of Yoga and Meditation. Many centers offering Yoga classes as stress busters can be seen in every nook and corner of the world. Even Pilates (a physical fitness system) is based on Aerobics and yoga postures of Surya Namaskaras.  Ayurveda an intrinsic part of Indian medicine is very popular among the westerners. Ayurvedic massages and Spa are much sought after medicinal therapies. Indian Ayurveda, a holistic approach to health that fuses the forces of mind, body, senses and spirit has kindled the curiosity of the westerners. Companies like L’Oreal have evinced interest in India Ayurveda skin care products and companies like Estee Lauder have created their own Ayurvedic spa treatments.  

My trip to the United States was an eye-opener in one way. I realized how far Indians had stretched themselves to popularize Indian cuisine even in remote areas. You could find restaurants under the name of Taj in many remote places serving north Indian cuisine. These restaurants attracted a fair number of foreigners. Indian cuisine is now one of the most popular cuisines across the globe and is enjoyed by the general population in North America, Europe, Australia and parts of Africa.

Indian spices, so integral to Indian cuisine, are an all time favorite of the food lovers across the world. The subtle flavour of these spices enhances the quality and appeal of vegetarian food attracting the discerning gourmand. Chicken Tikka is an all time favorite of the people around the globe. The Indian Jhal Moori (masala puffed rice) is an all time favorite of Queen Elizabeth of England.

I cannot fail to mention the various dance forms of India that have captivated the western audience. Barathanatyam and Kathak have never failed to enthrall western senses. The most powerful Indian cultural export has long been its film industry, nicknamed Bollywood, which is generally believed to produce the largest number of feature films in the world. Sometimes dubbed in local languages, these films, filled with colorful costumes, dances, music, and love stories are watched in Kuwait, Nigeria, Russia, Scandinavia, the Caribbean and even Fiji. Bollywood has globalised Indian dances and exposed it to the western world. I was totally surprised and thrilled to watch foreigners dance energetically to Bollywood numbers in the popular American TV show, “So you think you can dance”. The energetic Bhangra a north Indian dance form has been incorporated in Gyms and has become popular in the West.      

How can I miss mentioning about our very own Henna tattoos which has now become commonplace in households around the world.

There are many other aspects of Indian culture that have spread on a global scale. From curries to computer programs, self-realization to the arts, and well beyond, we are seeing its influence. The popular Indian art of using henna to create beautiful body designs and patterns only temporarily affects the surface of the skin. The influence of India leaves a permanent — and positive —impact on the world.

Isn’t it proof enough that Indians mark their presence everywhere?


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