When I posted about the Santa Monica Farmers' Market, Octavine requested I share pictures of the market's fresh cut flowers. So here are some beauties I spotted this past Wednesday.
These colorful, fragrant flowers seemed like a perfect prelude to Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle's fabulous new flick set in Mumbai, which I was about to go and see when I happened upon the market. When I came out of the theater, moved and thrilled by that high energy and almost gaudy movie, I turned on NPR and hear about the horrendous attacks in Mumbai. My heart sank.
Years ago, while traveling in Ladakh (Indian part of the Himalayas), I had sweet, spicy tea in the garden of the small hotel where I was staying. The tea was delicious, and the company was even better. I sat with the hotel's owner, a round-faced Buddhist who served only vegetarian fare in his lovely establishment, as well as Hasan, a Muslim visitor, and my travel party, one of which is a Catholic.
Our conversation spurred in me a deep respect for India. This is the largest democracy in the world, the hotel owner reminded us; Muslims, Hindus, people of all religions live and vote here in peace and freedom. Look, here we are, people of various confessions, enjoying a cup of tea together and chatting peacefully. Granted, there were occasional spurts of violence, but things were being worked out, in this very young democracy.
I was filled with admiration for this country of tolerance, even while I realized that vision was a bit idyllic. Then on Wednesday I was filled with despair. It wasn't just about the bloodiness of the attacks; it was also because it shattered my loving, hopeful belief in India.