The 67th Republic Day is behind us, and we’re done updating our Facebook status and sending Jai Hind messages on WhatsApp. So now that we’re done feeling intermittently patriotic and won’t be feeling so until the next Indian cricket match or Independence Day, how about we spare a moment and really think about the country.

Do I really like India or do I just claim to do so? Am I glad to be an Indian or is it because I have no option? Everyone has their own idea of perceiving a nation, and in the middle of the ongoing debate about intolerance, when I started thinking about my idea of India, I feel hopeful. My love for the country is partly natural that comes from belonging here, and partly based on the life I have lived and experienced. Notwithstanding everything that’s wrong with our country today, here I’m only going to talk about why I feel that India is not as bad as it is made out to be, and what makes me feel good to have been born here. 

India is the youth who is trying to strike a balance

As much as we are blamed for being self-centred, we know in our hearts that we will never be too selfish. We are the ambitious generation that loves the warmth of mother’s care at home, but at the same time realise the importance of freedom and independence. And whenever there’s friction with parents over our choices, we try to have a rational dialogue and show them the other side. We are the generation that’s defying the norms, and won’t give up. And I feel proud to be a part of this young India which is propelling the country to come out of its comfort zone.

India is receptive

Before you accuse me of turning a blind eye to the incidents of sectarian violence and caste-based oppression, may I please be excused for talking about the receptivity of Indians that’s definitely there, even if in the nascent stage. I, for one, have friends from different religions, speaking different tongues, each with a different take on life. And let me tell you, we don’t tolerate each other, we accept and love each other.

India knows jugaad

Who knows the jugaad way of working better than Indians? There is no problem that we can’t work around or manage to get through. And such is the glory of our creativity that the word has even found its way into the Oxford dictionary!

India is the travellers’ heaven

From the snow-capped mountains in the north, to the vast sea touching the southern tip, lush green natural abundance of the east or the sand dunes in the west, India is a magical place for travellers! And though I haven’t visited even a quarter of the country yet, I can at least take pride in the fact that I won’t have to apply for a visa before I pack my bags!

India’s festivals, food and weddings

From our own traditional festivals to the ones borrowed from other countries, we clearly don’t lack excuses to celebrate. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that celebration is the Indian way of living. Our weddings are colourful, fun-filled and extravagant! And nothing beats the Indian food, simply nothing.

India lives in its mohallas

Indian communities are closely knit, and one almost never feels lonely. And no, not every uncle is a pervert, and not every Sonu ki Mummy is interested in getting you married. Relatives, especially cousins, bring life to the party, and imagine how dull festivals would get if no one came to drag you out of house on holi to put the colour that never comes off! It’s this chaotic excitement that I love. And no one dare compete with Indian moms. Mine, for instance, loves to know what I eat for dinner, everyday!

India has Bollywood

Bollywood is our first love and it influences practically every aspect of our life. No matter how much we fret about the same old love stories or cliched comedy, we just love the way our movies teach us to romanticise life! And don’t even get me started on the music. It’s my personal therapist that has gotten me through all kinds of highs and lows.

India is getting there

We are the world’s oldest civilisation, and often touted as a society with a narrow-minded approach towards personal choices. But what I don’t want to ignore is the very fact that we’re learning. Take the recent incident of a journalist attempting to shame Sunny Leone. We all stood by her. If this is not respecting a women and her individuality, then I don’t know what is. Such things make me believe that we are, albeit slowly, definitely moving away from being a judgmental lot. 

And why I’ll never fall short of reasons for loving my country is because…

India is home. It is where I belong.