Thursday, 20 February 2014


Life is never as interesting and fascinating as it is when you walk down the noisy, smelly and crowded streets or roads of India.  The colours, some good, some bad; the smells, some good, many bad; the noise, some soft, many loud; the crowds, some mild, some overwhelming are just a tiny part of what Indian streets are all about.

The good, the bad and the ugly is a fitting description of the roads and streets of India. I love the feeling of walking down those streets and hate them at the same time. The colours, the aromas, the people, enchant and captivate you, while the stench, the filth, the loud noise, and the lack of personal space and privacy, disgust and repel you at the same time.

I am an Indian at heart and I know that no other country or its people will ever bewitch me as does my own. But then there are things about this place that are either just too revolting on the one end or absolutely comical and fascinating on the other.

There are people rushing into you, touching you, making you feel you are in a war zone except that there are no bullets or guns that you are trying to avoid. The bullets or grenades on the streets of India take the shape of spit, filth strewn around, stench and sweaty dirty skin and the only thing you can do is to duck, avoid or run through the chaos as if your life depends on it.

Steering your way through the roads and streets of Indian cities is the toughest job ever. Whether it’s walking through the crowds or it’s driving through the bedlam that is called traffic, there is drama everywhere.

I call it drama because you feel like one of the cast of a garish, raunchy Bollywood movie, there is loud music, there are men, women and children of all types talking, shouting, cursing and raising hell, boys and girls walking hand in hand, the oldie-goldies walking at their own slow pace, the litterers who take pride in making the streets even more colourful and beautiful than they already are and then there are the venom spitters we call them, spitting away in their own merry and musical way with background effects and musical melodies galore. 

An unintended fallout of all this chaos on our streets, a good one at that, is that vehicles are forced to slow down and, hence, the chances of striking objects and people in your way are reduced considerably! This is reportedly a major reason for rejoicing among those responsible for making our roads safer!

The food and the aromas are of course another movie all together. Food plays a big and important part of our culture and this is most evidently seen on our streets. The flavours, the colours, the aromas, the tastes, the buzz around the food stalls depict Indian life at its best and worst.

The diverse hues, the glimpses of our culture, the stories unfolding with their own heroes, villains and even comedians, the fun, the panic, the charisma, the spontaneity of Indian life, the panoramic images are what Indian streets are all about.

Love it or hate it, you can never be indifferent to the life on Indian streets. After all it is the only home I know. 


  1. Just as your description says that you are an individual full of contradictions, the contradictions seem to have paved their way through into your article too. But yes, that's what life is about. You have very rightly said that the same Indian streets may invoke a feeling of disgust in someone while at the same time somebody else may be fascinated to see the very same Indian streets. Loved the ending, "That's the only home I know." Great going!

  2. It took me a long time to understand that life is full of contradictions. Even as we age and mature (hopefully) we find that the very same things that made us happy may disgust us now and the other way round. Thank you Vikas for your encouraging words.