Walking Through The Idea Of India
How about playing Megasthenes?
You may not be a historian or a diplomat like this Greek, but you can follow his adventurous yet reflective way of exploring India. And India's multicultural ethos, its natural beauty, its resilient society, the sumptuous festivals and ceremonies, the wisdom of the seers, all remain the same.
Walks Of India allows you precisely this secured, therapeutic freedom. We would not be a lesser host than Chandragupta, the Mauryan emperor who welcomed Megasthenes! We would make up for the regal opulence with warmth andexpertise. Let Walks of India help you take part in this rewarding role-playing!
Come, discover the India we see, smell, breathe, think. Come discover the Idea Of India!
A house-wife, drenched in sudor, and contending with everything from power cuts and cranky kids to recalcitrant domestic help, rustles up a quick meal and stuffs it into a steel or aluminum dubba called a tiffin box. Her husband, a government employee, drops it into his bag as he heads for office.
Come noon and the box comes out. It's tiffin time. It's close to impossible to get any help in such offices at the best of times, but never dare to think of asking a soul there for help at this sacred hour (or two).
Tiffin time has all but vanished in private concerns in a modernizing India. Their gleaming edifices contain canteens which cater to those with more westernized tastes, perhaps, but those pizzas and burgers have to be wolfed down at far greater speed than in the halls of babdudom. It's all about 'work ethic' and 'cut-throat competition'; one must carry one's own supply of antacids at all times.
Most students eat their tiffin at their desks, there being few schools with elaborate dining facilities. Some students share what they've brought from home, others stand in groups at the canteen, and the more gluttonous snatch tiffin from their unsuspecting classmates.
Tiffin time on the streets...the daily wage earners chow down on a tangy concoction of sattoo, a gram-flour and milk-powder based product, mixed with pickles, oil, and slices of onion. After a morning of back-breaking work in horrendous conditions and a nutritious meal, they lie in the shade, covering their faces with pieces of cloth...what bliss!
Major General Charles Stuart, a British officer in Calcutta, was a great proponent of the Sari, the Indian wraparound elegant garment for women. So much so that he went to the extent of saying that European women must give up iron busks as "wearing iron busks makes women highly susceptible to lighting strikes and discarding iron busks from their wardrobes would immensely enhance the supply of iron in Bengal for farmers who desperately need new wagon wheels". He published his letters extolling the virtues of "elegant, simple, sensible, and sensual" Indian saris vis-a-vis "the prodigious structural engineering Europeon (sic) women strapped themsleves into in order to hold their bellies in, project their breasts out and allow their dresses to balloon grandly up and over towards the floor". Join us on the Park Street Walk in Calcutta to check out Hindoo Stuart's tomb where he's buried with all his favourite Hindu idols.