No, its not only Gobi Manchurian which mixes Indian & Chinese influences to produce a wonderfully crazy new thing. The hallowed Shaolin Temple in China is another one of these experiments that went well.
The Shaolin temple, arguably the greatest of China’s martial arts legacies, was built by an Indian buddhist monk, Buddhabhadra. The specialised martial arts of Shaolin (Shaolin Kung Fu) was developed there by another Indian buddhist monk called Bodhidharma.
This is another interesting piece of history that helps trace the development of asian martial arts to its primary source : Kalaripayattu of Kerala.
To know more of the Indian origins of the Shaolin Temple, go to the official website
Was at Dr L.Subramaniam’s annual fusion music festival last night. He started with a real foot stomper called ‘Indian Express’ (poetic justice indeed, since the festival itself is sponsored by the Times of India) and ended the evening with Don’t Leave Me. In between were pieces by his wife Kavita Krishnamurthy, their kids and two other musicians. Except for the odd flash I pretty much forgot HolidayIQ for over 2 hours; evidently the music was absorbing.
A small regret – I would have liked the two global musicians to have got a bit more of play time. Froy Aagre from Norway on the Sax & Chris Rhyne from LA on the keyboards.
India has always sold itself well to ‘seekers’, never really to ‘indulgers’. And in this lies our inability (not withstanding the regular self congratulatory blurbs emanating from our tourism ministry) to jump-start our inbound tourism.
‘Indulgers’ look for experience and that means they are looking to do something now – the Today matters to them. ‘Seekers’ on the other hand are looking for answers and are very likely to look for them in the past. And practically no country on earth has so much mind-share of Seekers as India.
The real question I guess is – can India be relevant to both?
I remember reading some time ago that the Indus Valley civilization (one of the oldest known human civilizations) had no concept of Police, or any other violent means of controlling internal behaviour (different from the notion of a standing army which is meant for repulsing outsiders). The historian-author of that book speculated that internal order was likely maintained by a system of mental conditioning of citizens and not by violence.
This came to mind while recently watching a Google TechTalk video that explored the Neuroscience of meditation (see that excellent – but long – video above). One of the points made by scientist Richard Davidson in that talk is that the practice of meditation, even for a duration as short as 3 weeks, can actually increase ‘virtuous qualities’ such as Compassion in its practitioners. Here is a serious western scientist demonstrating with western scientific approaches and data, the power of calm contemplation to fundamentally alter human behavior.
It then seems to me no huge surprise that the locus of the science of such contemplation or meditation lies in the East, particularly in ancient India and thereabouts. For, it seems logical to assume that it was this sort of thing that enabled the peoples of the Indus Valley Civilization to maintain internal harmony without policing. And that if they had figured it out 5000 years ago, it is their direct descendants who are most likely to retain the knowledge.
I hit this place practically every month and have never found more than 4 other people eating here at the same time. Being alone among 50 tables in a huge restaurant is eerie and if it had not been for ther fact that I have always got the craziest food each time I go there and it never fails me, I would never have gone back. Under the circumstances, I always do.
When Mohit was here a couple of weeks ago, I was able to introduce him to Sufi. Now, I have never taken anybody other than Sunita to this restautant before on the fear that they will end up ordering Indian tandoori stuff, which in comparison to the Gafghazi kebab and such other divine stuff, is abomination. So, it was a relief to be able to take another devotee to pay homage. And boy, did we pray!
Three huge kebab platters and one massive Persian bread. Not even the slightest hint of oil, lightly done veggies to round out the meat. And the meat – ahhh!!!!
Go there if you are seriously into meat. It is on the top floor of the Empire hotel in Koramangala, 5th block.