Sometimes I think I was born with this love inside of me. Cause I don’t remember when I fell in love and when I was such as how I am now. But I know one thing best – I am not different from that, we are one whole together. I am Irada from Azerbaijan and this is my story about my endless love, about Bharat. About India.
I was 4 years old when my late father took my little hand and took me to a Bollywood movie for the first time. It was “Disco Dancer”. I watched this movie again, but I only remember music and colors during the first time. After that movie, there were a lot of other movies like “Pasivadi Pranam”, “Khoon Bhari Maang” and etc. While I was a pupil, my acquaintance with India depended only on movies. I imagined this land of fairytale, beauty, music, love, passion, beautiful nature places on my dreams. I fondly remember that I took a curtain of our home and wore it as sari dancing in front of mirror.
While I grew up as young girl, I began imagining my love-hero (as in Indian movies) because there began an era of Shahrukh Khan. I changed into a romantic girl with his movies which idealize life and relationship, who waits longer for a lifetime hero hoping to find someday, who believe in beauty and all best thing in life and love. I truly thank India for my inner world which is full love, beauty and light.
But I think the main period in my story began with my history study at university. Now India opened itself for me on a new page. I began to learn its history, culture, its Veda and Yoga philosophy. I began to discover India in reality. And since last 15 years this learning process influences me deeply. I felt that I was changing. My thoughts, my feelings – they were differ now. And this process was inexhaustible. Day by day love and passion increased in me. It was stimulated by online travel bloggers about India, a lot of India pictures – about it architecture, nature, Ganges river. I didn’t watch any other movies or documentary films, everything were about India. Also watched every BBC and Discovery channels films about India.
Some inner voice called me to India, as Rumi words I always heard “come, come, come”. I dreamed about India every night. I heard new cities name and dreamt that at morning when I searched for them found at least. And then I was deep in shock for all happened. I felt that between me and India there was some unaccountable bond and I should learn about it. So, in 2008 I decided – I should go.
At first sight there wasn’t any problem for it. I was 24 years, worked and earned money. But I lived in East country where the family bond is stronger. The man who first introduced me to India had now prohibited me to go. My father! The man who I loved more than others prohibited me to meet with my new love- India. I tried more. Every time he destroyed my plans.
“Why are you angry with it, why don’t you allow me to go?”, I asked him.
“I am afraid for you. I am afraid of your safety”, he said.
“What can be happen to me if I know this country more better than my own? If I feel that I should go? Okay, then let’s go together”.
“Never!” he said angry. “Never! Go anywhere in the world, but I don’t want to hear India again. Forget your dreams and put them under your pillow like a book.” They were his decisive words.
Afterwards, I felt that I was lost myself each day. How am I to live now? Every moment I repeated to myself “I should I should I should”, “I should to go to India”, “I should to go to Rishikesh and sit and listen to the Ganges”, “I should go to Gomukh”. I realized that I have a lot to “should”. I stopped living.
Our lives are not as we see in movies. And also Indian movies taught me to respect our parents. And now I sacrificed my love and dream. The health and will of my father was main for me now. But one word “India” don’t say “Alvida” to me. I was jealous of everyone who went there. Sometimes there was a person who didn’t know anything about India and when he or she had opportunity to go I cried a lot asking “why not me, why?”. Little by little I stopped watching Indian movies and heard Indian music. Every act were destroyed me and I got reason to cry. They were terrible days in my life.
One day I discovered book of Rumi, Paulo Coelho and Robin Sharma and began to read them. These authors help me to renew. My three psychologists. As I read new one from a lot of their works I found calmness inside of me. Again I got deep belief that if this desire is borne within me, then there will be a day when it will be true. I got peace with myself. I began to learn yoga and practice it. I began to smile again, watch movie again, and listen Indian music, both Hindi or Classical music. Till a day this ritual is a part of my life and this music can help to begin new day with beautiful mood and restart after hardwork day.
One day my life changed. Earlier in 2014 I read one article about wishes and there were written that sometimes our dream doesn’t come true cause we think about them a lot, we should set them free and after they come to our life with getting true. “Okey”, I said to myself, “Lets practice it. I don’t want to go India. Why do I need it? I have a lot of work to do and I have a lot of plans about other countries. India can wait on other side”. I remember now these words and mood and smile on my face when I ask myself. But that time I forgot all of these. Cause my life was full of plans to do. I said and I forgot. And the miracle has began.
In may 2014, I was at a conference and there the Chieftain said that around September they plan to hold Turkish art, folklore, history symposium in Delhi. “Where?” I asked with deep wonder. “In Delhi. India” said Ahmet Hoca. I didn’t believe what I heard. Cause I forgot all about going to India and I guessed that my father won’t allow again and now I don’t want to suffer any more torments. I want to live in calmness and peaceful with my love deeper inside my heart never asking about going there again. But God is Great and at that time He was more kindly to me.
My dad said:
“Yes, sure. Go!”.
“You allow? I don’t believe. And how you said it “go” so gentle?”.
“Why not?” he said, “You go to symposium with group and I hope everything will be good”.
I was happy with these words. And 20 september I was born again. I spent only 6 days in India. Visited only Delhi and Agra. But I was happy. I remembered myself, my eyes which full of happiness, calmness, love and silent. My struggle was over at last. Remembering my excitement when they announced that “tomorrow we go to Agra to visit Taj Mahal” I am waiting this moment for last 9 years and may be whole of my life. I buy new ‘Anarkali’ in Delhi, colored my hands with mehndi. And we went to Agra. There on horizon, there seemed this white marble beauty. I lost my speech. I was in deep silence. The people around me know my love and passion to India. No one among them love India as I do. They only come to be a part of symposium. And they only kept their eyes on me saying nothing.
And yes, please. The moment was happened. Me in front of this beauty. I cried at the entry. Cried and saying nothing only thought that “you were a reason of my terrible days and my tears whole of these years. Now I am here. I come. I love you, India”.
It was unbelievable 6 days in my life. The day when I come together with love of my life.
Yes. It wasn’t in whole as I plan all these years. I was there only 6 days. I was able to visit only Delhi and Agra. But I got new breath to live. New reason to dream a new visit there. Cause India and me are very close with big and unbreakable ties. I will return again, with new power, deep strong mood, as a professional photographer and explore and travel, but as a earlier young girl fulled of love and passion with this country. Only changed situation is that I reached my dream and months ago lost my father. Sleep in peace, Dad! Now I can better understand the wisdom which you tried to teach me!
I am Irada and this is my story about my love to India. Irada – which means “will” in hindi and India is my endless will: “Tum dard tha, tum hi aaraam ho mere liye”.
Article written by our guest author Irada