India is all that ever was and all that ever will be; a glittering jewel that washed up upon the rocky shores of history back when no one was watching and, left on its own, exploded into the spectacular splendor of a thousand rainbows.
India is the land of sun-baked hope and sweat-soaked dreams; of strangled desperation and inexorable delight; of ubiquitous corruption and soaring spiritual rapture, blissfully wrapped in a dusty dupatta of magnificent, unparalleled squalor.
She is the simmering, sultry lover that one can never have, but craves with an insatiable hunger. For she is seductive and alluring, hypnotic; her voluptuous, dark eyes call to you in the night, beseeching you across continents and oceans, to return to her one time more, to feel her burning embrace against your hot, sticky flesh...
Because once she's kissed you lightly on the lips, you are hers forever...
So began my torrid love affair with India and her people - an affair that has spanned a decade and entices me still; pulling at me, drawing me back into that intoxicating embrace. For I have stood between her stony feet, trekked across her desert plains - from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, from the tip of Kanyakumari to the Himalayan foothills - and she has opened herself to me, taken me again and again, squeezed me rapaciously, exhausted me, sickened me, and driven me insane with joy. She is the seductive stuff of Bollywood fantasy and Hollywood dreams, of extravagant, incomparable beauty, and soiled, gut-wrenching misery.
India is all that is and would ever want to be.