A few years ago, I wrote a post on eGullet that about twenty reasons to fall in love with India. It has been a while and yet it is one of the posts I get most emails about. I love India, perhaps in a maniac, obsessive sort of way! So you will forgive me if my views are a bit biased, a bit romatic, a bit crazy, a bit passionate. There is a lot to complain about – as there is with any place on the planet. But in my humble opinion, there is a lot to love. There is a lot to learn from this country that not only survives but thrives inspite of chaos and poverty etc. It grows but one thing stays the same – the romance it envokes in my heart, the longing it creates and the best part – India makes me want to write. What more could a writer ask for?

So for those of you who want to see it, here are twenty reasons to love India, all of which still stand and I hhope will forever… and then

here are ten more –

1. The Taj Hotel in Mumbai — you may wonder why I selected a photo that shows in interiors instead of the outside. Well, there is a reason. After the events of last year, I wanted to show how much work the hotel has done to restore all the charm. There are security guards and metal detectors at the entrance – a sad but necessary step. But inside, all the charm, all the elegance, all the glitz are alive and well. I saw movie stars, models, everyday folks and enjoyed delicious meals. Ah Taj!

IMG_0438

2. IMG_0052  I just love this silly shot. This is one of the mall's in Delhi and this guy sits there each night playing the piano. Mostly ignored. But he shows up each day and plays the prettiest music. My kids loved him and danced to his tunes. I love the security guard in the picture…watching the paino guy so intently. I wondered what goes through the mind of a man whose job is so unappreciated. I guess this is my way of paying him some respect.

3. IMG_0062 Now I show my ignorance for the world to see. You see, this is my favorite fruit of all time. I know in India, it is called a jamun but I NO idea what its English name is. If you can tell me what the correct name is, I will be forever grateful. I love, love this fruit. It is gorgeous purple in color, and tastes earthy and sweet and always reminds me of my childhood home. My cousins and I would sprinkle chaat masala on it and then chow down like there was no tomorrow. The local jamun walla or the guy who used to sell these in a woven basket on the back of his bicycle used to be my buddy when i was a kid. I must have purchased all his jamuns during all the summers I spent in India. Ah.. and the apples on the side are small but really yummy.. they were, the vendor told me pre-season before the Kashmiri apples make there debut

4. IMG_0067 IMG_0484 All the images below are of local flowers. Dont ask me their names, I dont know. All I know is that I love them. I love their colors, I love their shapes, i love their scents (most of them anyway) and I love their feel. They are as pure as the IMG_0481 earth they are birthed IMG_0480 IMG_0256 IMG_0068 from.

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11 Comments

  1. #3: it’s a java plum! Don’t know if it goes by any other English name.

    I’ve never been to India, but this post makes me want to book my trip.

    Thanks for sharing, Monica.

  2. Whoops I commented on the wrong “India trip” post about Jamuns.

  3. I have lived in a few places outside India, but for me (with all that’s good and not so good)India is the best.
    Of course, I’m Indian so I’m biased. 🙂

    The flowers – #1 are lotus buds and #3 is a yellow hibiscus. I recognise the others but don’t know their names either. 🙂

  4. Monica mam, the 2nd pic is the biggest mall in Delhi now, called the Select City Walk. The guy who plays the piano is brilliant. I have seen him playing it. Its a very intricate instrument and that he gains no attention is sad as people are busy shopping. But thou yes he manages to gather attention of elderly people. I think if there were more benches then people would have sat there to enjoy his tune and he would have had the attention that he deserves. And i must say Mam that you have paid your due respect to the gentelman in a beautiful way 🙂

    picture 3: jamun is also known as Jambul or the Black plum. It has got some recognition now. Now you get martinins made with Jamun, mixologist Rohan Jelkie has come up with this martini recipe and its called the Jamuntini. You get this drink in Azzuro Bar and Kitchen in Saket Pvr and in the Gurgaon branch.

    Keep writing…..INDIA ROCKS!!! 🙂

  5. It would be really fun to do a blogger trip to India!

  6. I am looking forward to my first trip to India. My husband went a year ago, and loved it! He especially loved all the little pots of jam, curry, and sauces brought at each meal for flavoring. Thank you for sharing, I love your personal list! -Chris Ann

  7. What fun! We call those fruits jambul in Marathi. The yellow flower in the pot is hibiscus and the yellow flowers on the tree are amaltas or the golden shower. You will find the latter only in Florida in these parts. The orange flower is a marigold and the gajra is made of mogra or jasmine.

  8. my mom loves jamun, too, and has never known the English name, either. I’ll have to fill her in.

    your lists are making me nostalgic…books for sale everywhere, monkeys, the men at sari shops bringing out fabric for inspection, all of the noise at night in Mumbai.

  9. I too love the Jamun’s with the chaat masala… mouth is already watering! lovely article
    warm regards.
    alyona

  10. The botanical name of Jamun is Syzygium cuminii. Checkout http://www.fruitipedia.com/jamun.htm

    Also called (to add to the confusion) Kala Jamun, Kala Jam, Jamoon, Java Plum, Jambolan, Duhat, Syzygium jambolana, Eugenia cumini, Eugenia jambolana. Samar Gupta, Mumbai

  11. The fith picture, a connical shaped bunch of yellow flower, is called Amaltas. After the bloom, a long stick like fruits are formed. When ripe it the sticky and sweet flesh of the fruit can be eaten for its laxative and many other medicinal values.

    The one before is a yellow hibiscus. Also know as ‘jaba’ in eastern part of India.

    The one with a garland of white small flowers held on to someone’s hand is called ‘bell’ in the same area as above.

    Thanks for your article. Very nice one.

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