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India: The Giant Awakens

India: The Giant Awakens

This is indeed India!

The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of a hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the mouldering antiquities of the rest of the nations – the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien persons, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the globe combined. Even now, after a lapse of a year, the delirium of those days in Bombay has not left me and I hope it never will.

Mark Twain, American author, 1897

For a literary giant so expert at distilling complex ideas into words, it’s revealing how awestruck Twain felt when he visited India. The colour and contrast of his language tell you all you need to know about this most mystical and beguiling of countries.

From Goa to the Ganges and from Kashmir to Kerala, the vivid intensity of India’s colours, smells, tastes and sounds all conspire to create a sensory overload. The rich choreography of Indian life makes you feel like you’ve lived your entire life in black and white, to be suddenly dazzled with Technicolor.

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