India has come to hold a special place in my heart ever since I became friendly with an Indian woman, called Fay, who was writing her postgraduate thesis in sociology in Trinity College, Dublin at the same time as I was. I loved her style and most of all her sincerity, kindness and strong gentleness. We’d ponder ‘big questions’ over endless cups of tea and as we walked up Dawson Street late in the evening towards out respective abodes.
Back around 2000, my late parents began attending an Indian family doctor here in Tramore. Like Fay, he is a wonderful ambassador for his native country and has a deep, deep sense of the meaning of the word ‘care.’ I would, without doubt, count him as one of the people I have been most fortunate to meet in my life.
And more recently, I have met a dear friend, Asha, through our shared love of poetry. She was one of the early contributors to my poetry thread on Linkedin which I started almost two years ago now. She brings India to life for me in all sorts of ways, through poetry, photographs, humour, empathy, and even gentle reminders of the time difference between Ireland and India!
Speaking of poetry, I am fascinated by the fact that Ireland’s W.B. Yeats developed a strong friendship and working relationship with the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1961.) Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 and these lines of his are among my favourites because they highlight a generosity of spirit that I have come to associate with India and its people.
There is room for you. You are alone with your few sheaves of rice.
My boat is crowded, it is heavily laden, but how can I turn you
(from: Lover’s Gifts V111: There is Room for You)