Tata International Social Entrepreneurship Scheme
Emotions in South Kodagu and Cross-Cultural Insight in India
Here I am
Sited in a comfortable armchair
In front of a luxuriant coffee plantation.
The inclined beam of twilight
Lights the red wood of silver oaks
And their long trunks
Lift my eye up to the crown
Which forms the ceiling
Of this exotic setting
With the sun setting the sound of the forest will grow.
The noise of cicadas
Is slowly replaced by the chirping and whistling
Of the birds, inhabitants of this vast canopy.
This gorgeous scenery
Replaces the wild images
Of a National Geographic documentary
I perceive the slope of the plantation
From the Robusta foliage
Which declines gently.
The green leaves glisten with the drops
Of an early Monsoon rainfall
No wonder why
The Kodavas of the Western Ghats
Worship this magnificent nature.
Kaveri the river,
Younger sister of Ganga
Cleans our sins
And Iggutappa, god of rain,
Nourishes the waters
Of the Coorg forest realm
Slowly the fragrances of curry and masala
Announce a savory dinner.
Papaya and mangos
Ginger and Garlic
Curcuma, Turmeric and Cinnamon
Are just names enough to transport you far.
Adrak, Ajmud, Amla,
Dalchini, Dhaniya and Haldi,
Jeera, Kaju, or Elaichi
Take you even further away
Into the deep and enchanting
Charms of sublime India.
The Coorg people are linked to nature and worship it. Climate change and sustainability are becoming the major issues of this century, and the Kodavas seem very ahead of this recent- post industrialization concern. The Coorg nature is so beautiful that it inspires me poetry. It is majestic, breathtaking, and at the same time soothing and inspiring. India as a whole is a place where I feel at home. A friend recently asked me what the major difference between France and America was. I found the answer in India. As soon as you step in India you can feel the years of culture surrounding you. You first smell this very particular fragrance of spices, burning and jasmine. Then you see women wearing resplendent saris all around. They indicate you how strong is this culture. Temples and mosques are everywhere, and you can feel on the stones, in the cities, and even in the woods, the breath of the past transporting generations. I feel the same in my native old Europe, where the wear and tear of buildings reminds you of the centuries they have witnessed. America is a teenage country. Three hundred years of history is only twelve generations. America’s culture is in its adolescence. The weight of culture and the past is what makes America different than France. That is what I miss in America, and what makes me feel at home in India.