Organized Chaos. That's My India!

08/12/2014 10:31 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
Indians crowd a market selling marigold flowers early morning on Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. Marigold flowers are popularly used as offerings and for rituals and decorations during Hindu festivals. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

PaniPuri with Sister Jenna


I have traveled to India over 30 times in my lifetime. My mother has visited India over 45 times! Neither of us have any blood relatives here. We are pulled by the mystical lure, scents, smiling faces, and complex cultural forms of relating that would make any psychiatrist squelch. The roads where cows, camels, goats, Mercedes, buses and people all share equal rights make one's senses rise to heights of a quiet insanity, that somehow begin to feel normal.

With the orchestra of well sounding horns, laughter, quarrels, OM, hecklers motorbikes, trucks, vendors selling chai, and ever so often the quiet moment of sheep herders moving in alignment amongst it all, I continue to call Mother India, the land of organized chaos.

The following series of events demonstrate this well. While here, I visited the J Watumull Global Hospital & Research Centre in Mount Abu, 5,000 feet above water in the Aravalli Mountains. I left all currencies in my room which was at the base of the mountain, thinking my credit card would be enough. While getting some medicine, the pharmacist brought me a bill of 1,000 rupees. I said, "Oh no! I don't have cash on me, how about a credit card?" He said, "We don't have a machine for credit." I then remembered that, although I made it up the mountain, I needed to put gas in the car to be able to return, and now I needed 1,000 rupees for medicine.

I turned to a woman next to me, a retired Colonel in the U.S. military, and said, "I left all my money back in my room." She said, "So did I! I had to borrow from someone." We both laughed, realizing how conditioned we are being from America. She said, "Here, I can give you 500 rupees."

"Thanks," I said, "but I also need money for gas!" The pharmacist overhearing all of this, responded with an easy solution. "How much do you need for gas?" he asked. "200 rupees," I said. He said, "Okay, give me 300 rupees."

Speechless, touched, and a little heated, thoughts ran through my mind of wishing I could find such care in the U.S. And, at the same time, I was basking in the fact that although I was disorganized, and there was chaos all around me, it all worked out. There is this powerful energy in India called "Bhavna." It means, 'deep feelings with highest respect,' and it indeed runs this land. As chaotic as it seems to foreigners, in some strange way, things get done in ways that back in the U.S. could take months, years and cost thousands of dollars.


There is a great need for the heart to supersede the ego of the head and move our world forward. Without a doubt, there are many who would observe a contrary view to my understanding of India. But my view of India has remained constant. What else could be said of a place where assisted living homes are not at an all time high because family takes care of family? Where child care facilities are so few with a population of one billion, because grandparents happily take care of the children; there is a temple almost at every corner; and there are at least three generations in many homes. Regardless of all the ailments of India seen by the Western world or by its own people, India continues to be one of the greatest existing stories of a people with tremendous heart and Bhavna. And through that, the country flows.

To my dear India, I see you flowing eventually into a Golden Age where everyone is happy and everyone lives in peace and prosperity. It's all a matter of time. Your insatiable love for a God where your choice of 33 million makes the rest of the world ponder on why they have only One. Who knows, but one thing is for sure, I love my India!


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