India changes every minute

One minute you’re sitting in an air-conditioned office, in a plush building, or moving through the maze of cubicles smiling that professional smile at people you know little about. Impersonal, professional, India — plush, efficient, and spotlessly clean.

Then you step out. There is a company meeting in a five star hotel, and company has arranged a bus for taking all of you there. You step on the bus, to the sounds of “Pardesi pardesi jana nahi”, on a music system that’s surely not made with the concept of fidelity on mind. The loud shrinking sounds, and the dust, and the heat and the pollution accompanies you to the destination. The driver and the cleaner speaking some dialect of Hindi, laughing that all too real laughter.

You’re back into a epitome of the urban India — the snobbish high places. Spotlessly clean, slow elevator music in the background, air fresheners the body sprays intermingling, the cool air wants you to pull a sweater on. An utterly impersonal world, where every attendant keeps calling you sir for no reason.

Another day, you’re sitting in a tapari, with oily pakodas and hot ginger tea in almost dirty glasses. The weary indifference on the face of the chaiwallah breaks down when you tell him it was an excellent tea. He never expected to hear that from you. He’s unabashedly happy as he returns you back the exact change. Another ghastly song is playing on the old radio, but somehow that doesn’t bother you.

India changes every minute. What does it mean to love or hate India?

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