Mother India does not let go, even though I have been in the old country for over three weeks. I remember we ate Thali, an exquisite vegetarian dish, at one of the finest restaurants in Puri. As everyone else, we ate using our hands, or more precisely the right hand. On our hands there is an enzyme which prevents caries. In cultures where people touch the food when they eat, one can often see broad smiles with healthy teeth, perhaps this is because of this enzyme which nature has equipped us with. In the West we lay our tables with silverware, and with all our equipment we break the perfect circle because we want to be neat. In India the right hand is the clean, the left is dirty. This is the system, one eats with the right hand and wipes one’s bum with the left. I fold a piece of chapati bread around a mixture of potatoes and spinach which is deliciously seasoned, and put it into my mouth using my right hand. This is a good and intimate way to eat.
At the first visit to a toilet in India, one gets confronted with the country’s toilet traditions. Here one squats and do ones business, which is the most natural position for relieving oneself. We who are sitting on our chair-like water toilets in the puffed up West, are actually sitting in the worst possible position for relieving oneself completely. So one squats down and relieve oneself on an Indian toilet. There is no toilet paper. A tap with water and some kind of jug are present, but no towel. One just have to get started using the left hand to clean oneself. And it is actually much better than the “fine” toilet paper which only smears the faeces outwards. I would not be surprised if there are less hemorrhoids and prostate cancer in cultures where one defecate like in India. When one squat and defecate one use all the muscles, also the prostate muscle, which is seldom used in our culture. In the West small children learns to use a potty instead of squatting when they are relieving themselves. A new soul is lured into a world of remedies which destroys us more and more.
To squat a couple of times a day keeps you soft and flexible for a lifetime. One can see that the elderly people in India are in better shape than elderly people here. The mode of living has brought something from the earliest times into the modern world. For thousands of year we managed without furniture and equipment, now we are totally dependent on all this human made equipment. Seeing young and old people in India sitting with their legs crossed looks just right. They have furniture in their bodies, chairs and beds. The saris and the various blankets can be used for everything. People arrange themselves without any problems and wait for a train that is 18 hours delayed. They settle down at the platform, and fall asleep close to each other wrapped in blankets and saris, and using turbans as pillows. India and the Indian way of life is better prepared for a time of resource deficit, and perhaps we can learn something from this ancient culture.
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