It hits you like a sitar over the head, the moment your Zanottis touch the dusty red earth.
Your polished pores break into sweat, you stumble down the Air France gangway, clutching your Celine Luggage Bag with your french manicured paws and leave the last bit of reassuring Europe behind, fake smiling, mechanically waving you Au Revoir.
It took you eight hours and an upgrade to get the 7000 kilometers from Paris to Bombay.
But it takes you to a DIFFERENT UNIVERSE altogether.
The sun is blinding. The smell is deafening. The noise overpowering. Cars honk, dogs bark, children laugh, workers scream, birds, lorries, tablas. The smell of kitchen fires at dusk.. Some shrill Hindi tune blaring at full power out of a truck painted with beautiful eyes and a bright smile. The bling bling, chling chling from a foot bracelet. Where the hell is my luggage. So many new impressions, your head's about to explode.
Later, in the air conditioned car, sipping iced Evian and on the way to your hotel, you will realize somebody hung an orange flower garland around your neck, while you must have stood transfixed..
Once your white limo makes its way through the labyrinth a.k.a the highway, is gracefully overtaken by an elephant and black faced monkeys dance on the bonnet while you wait for some holy cows to cross the road, you know you've reached.
Meet the charming snakes in their baskets, breathe in the incense, the oceans of roses, santal, saffron, chili, jasmine. Spices, really smelly smells and the one billion people that form the heart and soul of this country. It's the best bad smell I've ever inhaled. Or the worst best smell? Who cares. It smells like home to me, and I breath in as if I was drowning.
I know, I live in a nice place. And I'm not complaining. Paris is beautiful. Avenue Montaigne is probably amongst the best locations on the planet. But still, India is enchanting.
And when the rain pours down, and Mr. Eiffel's tower stays hidden in the fog, I cant help dreaming of places far away..
Its the colours. This must come as a huge surprise, but I'm a colour addict. Black depresses me. I even tried pink hair for that sake. Ever wondered where I got my colour sense from? If you spent your childhood in India like Miss Mimi did, the first thing you learn is that there is no such thing as too much, when it comes to colours. There's a festival of colours, too. It's called Holi and is an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
|And there's no TOO MUCH for accessories, either. The more, the merrier.|
Its the spirit. Hinduism is remarkable. More than any other religion I've studied, it truly celebrates life. Life and life and life again.
Got a problem? Got a god! There's a patron saint for every itch, and the inhabitants of the Indian Olympe are so much more approachable, more human, more genuine, more friendly, and as I know from experience: more efficient. Except for a crazy diva called Kali. She's da boss of Calcutta, dances on dead bodies and accessorizes her Gothic look with skulls and bones. Original India, isn't it?
Its the people. For being such a huge country, with over one billion humans and minimum 2 billion dogs and just as many rats, I find India to be rather peaceful. Not that many rat traps around. And the ones I did see looked rather inviting.
Be it the yoga, the soothing music, the good karma or thanks to the relaxing qualities of Chai, but people are much more chilled. Maybe its because the cinema provides a whole nation with more drama than any one could ever need. Bollywood movies are...ummm and acquired taste. Want suspense? Drama? The manliest hero, the ugliest villain and a stunning damsel in distress, for up to 5 hours? Then Bollywod cinema is your thing.. Within this time that feels like an eternity, you get all your anxiety out of your system.
And all of India save their last Rupees to do the same.
|The Taj Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur|
It definitely is Rajasthan. Where I choose to relax. Or watch Octopussy, if in Paris. For those who DON'T KNOW: No, this is not the latest video by Nicki Minaj. Its a very legendary James Bond movie, that was filmed in a Maharanis former summer residence, the Lake Palace in Udaipur. Which is now my favourite hotel in this world.
|Karma was a bitch, obviously.|
1000 gods are watching you. And might just turn you into a Bollywood actress for your NEXT TAKE, when they call CUT. But don't you get all worried now, just remember my MANTRA: Karma's only a bitch if you are..
So this is why I love India.
Let it pull you in its FOUR ARMED EMBRACE.
Read: Shantaram, Talwar, Palace of Winds.
Listen to: Mimi's groovy, spiritual and relaxing Indian Playlist.
Cook: Mimi's Indian Recipes.