IMGP0384 - Diwali cattle

India - Cultural cornucopia

11 May 2015

It’s remarkable that India manages to be one country. With so many different peoples, traditions, religions and languages it’s a wonder it all hangs together. But hang together it does with more than 20 recognised official languages. Hindi, the most widely spoken is the native language on not more than 25% of the population. Where I work, Bengali and a host of other languages are standard fare. In some villages our conversations go from English, to Hindi then to Bengali and finally the local tribal language. By the time the answer comes back to us there have been six translations! Chinese whispers are alive and well. This diversity provides a rich cultural patina, with every region, district and village having its own unique cultural and culinary specialties to uncover and to savour. Indian food is so awesome and a great drawcard, although I must confess to starting to hanker after a steak after a couple of weeks away. But how could you possibly harm such lovely sacred cows as these!

IMGP0255 - A welcome for the cattle at Diwali

The cattle are given special treatment on this day of the Diwali festival, being painted up for the party, and having a “red carpet” put out for the return to their overnight stall where for one night of the year they will eat before their masters do! Traditionally the cattle worked hard as transport and tractors but their work is slowly being taken over by newer technologies. Nevertheless the cattle remain an integral part of family life here

IMGP0229 - The day of the cattle

Every corner you turn there is another story unfolding, another cameo of a life today that lingers like the scent of a magic moment, a first touch, a stolen kiss, a fleeting fraction of a joyous second etched in your mind forever. That’s India


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