India my dear
India is my idea of freedom.
India is the most exciting journey I've ever had.
India is a treasure full of unexpected jewels, in front of which one reevaluates one's knowledge.
India is the closest thing there is to God on this earth: a continuous series of beautiful surprises that strengthen faith in life.
Twelve years ago I was in India for two months, almost always traveling far and wide with Jack, Giacomo, a great friend of mine from Mirano.
Although Indian evenings of whiskey and water gave us the combination of Jack Daniel's, from the first day Giacomo's Indian friends called me Spritz, a nickname that comes from old university post-examination habits.
Everything in Bangalore was disorder, poverty, dirt and outstanding bad smells were everywhere. The city was, and may still be, in full population explosion, so much so that two ring-roads were simultaneously under construction.
The chaos was impressive.
The first days were disastrous, every day we risked something without knowing it: I was at the hospital, in the dump, in the worst corners of the city in search of alcohol and marijuana.
One morning, on the balcony of the kitchen, the largest nest of Vespa mandarinia - more commonly called Asian giant hornet - I have ever seen in my life piled up. And after half an hour of discussion on how to act, Giacomo and I decided to equip ourselves with homemade protections and throw a bucket of water and detergent against the nest. The fury with which the bumblebees attacked the kitchen window was frightening, but the next day there was no trace of it.
One day we ran out of money, had no chance to pick them up at the ATM, and ran away from the hotel we were staying in.
One day the Royal Enfield broke down, and the repair times put the patience of everyone to the limit.
One day I found myself face to face with a cobra.
One day we stayed all day on a bus.
One day the monsoon arrived, and it seemed like it was not going to leave.
One day the car flooded.
One day nobody knew when and if the train would leave.
One day the heat was so unbearable that we had vertigo.
One day some children threw rocks at us (but on that occasion they were not wrong).
One day we slept in a hut found in a park, and we woke up surrounded by monkeys trying to open our backpacks.
Several days our stomach got tired of fighting against all the attacks it was subjected.
No day was the same as the previous one.
As days passed, and thanks to the help of Jack, who at that time was already an Indian himself, my attitude changed.
I got rid of the appearance that draws that world more like a hell than a paradise.
So everything changed in my mind.
Disorder is not the chaos that rumbles in every part of the city, in India it is the highest degree of freedom that people express every day without fear of being different.
Poverty is not a social status to be ashamed of, quite the contrary, in India it is the dignified smile of every person begging for charity; the caste system eliminates ambition, takes away from men selfishness, envy and violence of getting more at any cost.
Dirt is not filthy, in India every daily element has a cycle within community life: everything useless to a person is abandoned to be subsequently collected and reused by someone else.
Outstanding bad smells remain outstanding bad smells, but I imagine that my nose accustomed itself to them.
In short, everything in India makes sense exactly as it is.
It's being the great protagonist.
The whole Indian culture is very rich in this being: sari is the fabric and the color, not the brand or the cut; yoga is a healthy training for the body that really helps to feel better, it is not only focused on increasing the volume of muscles, Ayurveda medicine - whose meaning is translatable as knowledge of longevity - is a practice that helps health without the cost of health insurance; Religions are tolerant because they have lived together for centuries and make people peaceful; Mumbai's dabbawalas, people who distribute meals door-to-door, are infallible even if the city is huge and unpredictable.
I return to India for its being.
I start with my being and my culture to look for the purest core, like a modern Parmenides who, before writing his On Nature, faces the journey towards the East in search of the ancient Vedas. There he will discover that Veda is Brahma, that is, that knowledge is divinity, and that God is one and that all living entities are His small integral parts that participate in His eternal spiritual nature filled with knowledge and happiness.