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India is the land of spices, my favorite rice, cuisine so varied that nobody could ever learn it all, chai and many other things.

How about a country with amazing diversity in languages, cultures and religions that keeps itself together as the world's most populous democracy?

It is a place where vegetarian food is not an afterthought, but a whole world of different flavors without meat. Those who eat meat also have so many delicious meat dishes to choose from, that they could never taste them all.

I was born in Assam, the world's capital of black tea, in my thinking at least. I didn't visit Darjeeling, though I wish I had (maybe on a later trip). I also lived in the foothills of the Himalayas, in Mussoorie, and could see the sunset reflecting off both the Ganges and Jumna rivers. Dehra Dun was right there in my view, too, heart of basmati country. If I just walked a mile I could see the jagged snow-covered peaks of the higher Himalaya ranges. Quite a contrast from where I was born, which was a lush warm wet forest land where bamboo grew into 100-foot tall forests.

It's hard to decide what I liked most, because that is where I grew up, but I'd say some of my favorite things were:

-okay the food, for sure

-how people of different philosophies and languages get along so well. This isn't by accident. It's because they have a culture of respect for others, They can disagree, even loudly, without even thinking of getting into a physical confrontation.

-how people are genuinely interested to learn about other cultures. In India you can talk to a stranger about religion, and even if their beliefs are very different from yours, the conversation can go very far and still be civil and respectful. In India there is a Hindu majority but it's not a majority by much. There are a lot of Moslems, some Christians, Buddhists, and many other religions.

-if you want to try a variation on the chicken curry you just had, go a few miles away and it will be a little different, but still yumm

-just knowing that you can never catch the full breadth of India, never in a life time no matter how hard you try, makes it cool. If you wanted to try to, a first step might be learning 200 languages.

Jai Hind :D