This is India?
Perusing it’s highways and streets from google maps, one would not find much remarkable about it. There is nothing special that sticks out to compel one to look closer or think a little more deeply about what the land and people are like. All one can see at first glance are those squiggly criss-crossing lines of different colors intersecting each other among a non-nondescript, almost drab landscape of tepid green and brown. The only landmark in this particular map that catches the eye slightly is the river Ganges. Its parabolic stretch to the east of Varanasi draws the attention for a moment; one may notice the in-congruent widths of beach that line the east shore, or else the stark contrast of its natural dark blue waters to the synthetic yellow lineation that symbolizes train track.
Oh! What meaningless plasticity this map presents to the mind! Cartography of this kind alienates ourselves from the reality of what it purports to show us, all the while oppressing and boring the actuality of the earth and the life upon it. With its cold data and inert accuracy it builds a facade of lifelessness below. Nothing but measurement and exactitude can be ascertained, though this is nothing but fraud of the worst degree. It is lie built upon lie. The map tells us that there is no movement upon the earth; that the elements of destruction, creation, and maintenance are not at work to continue the unending dance of life. This is, of course, ludicrous. This is like pretending that all there is in the universe is the random vibration of particles in a complete vacuum of chaos and indeterminate energy exchange.
And so, looking upon this map, and seeing it for what it is – a misrepresentation of singularity – we can establish its inability to recreate anything meaningful about which it purports to embody. Having done so, we can quickly set it aside and dismiss it as a useless tool for real information. Let us instead use something that helps us understand what India is. That something is, in truth, the only thing that we can use, because anything else falls horribly short. And that something is experience.
Let us embark then, onward to experience India, in all its facets and splendorous traces. +++
As any good guide would prepare you thoroughly for a journey ahead in which he is to lead and protect you, and as he would also, during the sojourn itself, continually lead you along the best routes and highlight certain areas while downplaying or even excluding others so as to maximize your adventure, I too, shall do these things. It matters little that our sensory organs to experience India are composed of the mind, or that the vehicle to travel through India is the words that I write and that you read. The same essential principles apply, we just have to be a little inventive in the process of applying them. And so, allow me to be your guide on your trip to India. You will experience it much more fully than looking at it through Google Maps. `