I heard of India in my childhood, from my family and my teachers, but I could say I really fell in love with the Indian culture when I watched the first Hindi film: Yaadon ki Baaraat (Procession of Memories in English or Lanțul amintirilor in Romanian). Indian music and dances have fascinated me ever since. After that I remember I watched other Indian old films: Awara, Shree 420, Ek phool do mali, Aradhana, Haathi mere saathi etc. and I learnt immediately some songs: Awara hoon, Ichak dana bichakdana, Yeh parda hata do, Gunguna rahe hain bawnre or Chal, chal mere saathi. I still love these songs!!
After that period, I discovered India through the medium of Mircea Eliade’s works (Eliade was an internationally renowned writer and historian of religions who studied in India and wrote a lot about India): Maitreyi, Nights at Serampore, The Secret of Dr Honigberger etc. Then I searched for more and more information related to India and its extraordinary culture(s) and I ended up writing a BA thesis on the Indo-Romanian intercultural relations in Mircea Eliade’s works.
Searching deeper and deeper, I also discovered the fascinating and refined Indian philosophies, religions (Hinduism, Jain, Buddhism etc.) and literature (from the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmanas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Sakuntala to contemporary writers such as Arundhati Roy, Shivani Singh etc.).
The next step was the Indian cuisine: samosa, biryani, chapati, rajma, dahl and, the most important, masala chai. And last year, I met my wonderful Indian maa, Dr Rashmi Gujrati, who introduced me to new aspects of Indian civilization.
And I am still discovering India…