The Encyclopedia Britannica says” If there is a country on earth which can justly claim the honor of having been the cradle of human race, that country is assuredly INDIA”
Once upon a time, in a country called India, on the far southern coast of Nagapattinam, there landed a wide vessel on the shores of Bay of Bengal. Argyra* anchored herself on the coast. She was a wide vessel carrying traders and travelers from her motherland Greece.
“India has arrived”!! Shouted Nicholas with excitement. Argyra was swaying in the cool sea breeze. She landed on a bright moonlit night. Nicholas was 20 years when he left his home town Greece. He had heard about this wonderful country from his countrymen who had visited her earlier. From then on his urge to visit her multiplied. And here he is!.
Nicholas could feel the chill in the air, the sound of waves and the delicate moon light made him feel a sense of peace. He jumped on the shores. The moment he landed on Indian soil, he could feel a sense of purity. The winter winds spoke through his clothes, the smell of sea on him reminded of his tiresome journey to this beach.
He closed his eyes to smell sand with the moist wind, the smell of the mystical land called India!. Nicholas was young, trim and so full of life. Lying on the sand under the silver silk moon, he lost himself into the land of dreams and waited for the day to dawn.
Rays of morning light and the sound of the gushing waves woke him the next day. He lazily opened his eyes but the sight he witnessed made him refreshing. The beauty of the land made him spellbound.
He slowly strolled into the mainland along with his fellow travelers. Most of them were traders. He travelled in a marvelously decorated barge whose sails were made of silk and masts in gold. It was owned by one of the merchant guilds of the Chola dynasty. The parti**, as they call it in the local Tamil language, floated along the vast and majestic river Cauvery to reach the capital city of the Cholas- Thanjavur.
Thanjavur was yet another wonder to Nicholas. He was awestruck at the natural beauty the city beholds. He was stunned by the richness of the land, lush green fields and of course the marvelous architecture. He has heard from his fellow countrymen about the architectural mastery of the cholas and now he is standing there amidst those wonders!.
Gazing at the numerous temples which has beautiful sculptures on every surface, Nicholas spend his day roaming around the city with one of the local person named Veeraiyan. Veeraiyan though couldn’t communicate well with him, spoke through signs now and then to convey the pride of his city. The base pillars of the temples had sculpted mythical animals and towers soaring high. They call it as gopuras*** as told by Veeraiyan. He took Nicholas to the magnificent siva temple at the capital city. The pride of the Cholas for their excellence in art and architecture!.
The culture among people, the nativity, the city as a whole, the colors, tastes and the smell he thought, brought a spirit to humanity. He admired the custom among the natives to give great care to their siblings and family until their death, their patriotism to the mother land and the King. Their friendly gestures of greeting with both hands was new to him. He could see activeness everywhere. People where like busy bees active with music, prayers, singing, dance and even arguing among them was new to Nicholas.
Nicholas started to fall in love with the land as he slowly learned about this fascinating country. Nature and natural resources were at its best and properly utilized by the locals. Indeed, he was enjoying his stay here. Not to leave the delicious spicy food he ate. And so grew his desire to extend his journey to still more exploration into this mystical land.
Days passed by, Nicholas was still wandering in south India. He nevr had the desire to leave this land,. As told by his fellow men “India once visited, will get into your heart and soul and will keep on lingering in the mind”…how true it was! he felt that way now.
What a land it was to him,. He saw a miniature world in it. All sorts of people, travelers like him from distant countries, traders- it was as diverse as it could be. It’s tolerance, freedom and engagement with the world simply glued in his heart. The immense hospitality that he received everywhere he went made him feel at home. From glorious clothing, colorful flowers, architectural marvels, mouth watering foods, everything seem to be baked into their cultural DNA!.. Be it the strong sun that makes the land even more shiny or the subtle moon that creates a mood of serenity, Nature too has its say in this wonderful country
India had taught him patience, gentleness and love during his stay. As the flowing Cauvery disappeared in the sea losing its name and form, Nicholas lost his heart and soul to this land of dreams and fabulous wealth
*- a Greek sea nymph
**- large barge type vessel used for ferrying trade goods