When I think of India—especially now, after reading the literature and eating the food—I think of aromatic spices and colors, conquering sultans and rajas, sumptuous palaces and temples. I think of gold and jewels and steamy jungles. I think of a faraway world that’s perhaps not nearly as far away as I’d thought.
Because the truth is, Indian life and culture is amazingly complicated. It’s a menagerie of different castes, religions, politics, boundaries, and cultures. It’s like a giant Gordian knot of humanity that you’re trying to unravel, only finally coming to the understanding that it’s impossible to fully understand and organize it.