In search of peace: How an Israeli soldier discovered the beauty of India

We are often too critical of our country. We keep talking about the poverty, unemployment or population crisis in India but do not pay enough attention to the good things like India's diversity, unity and culture.

In fact, former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had asked Indian media to stop focusing on negative news and give their readers and viewers more positive reports.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

India may have its problems but an Israeli soldier who served in the Israel Defence Forces for three years will tell you how India helped him get rid of some very heavy burdens he had been carrying for a long time.

In a poignant article in The Times of Israel, a tank commander who served in the 2014 Gaza war shows how life can change while constantly living in a conflict zone and facing battles all the time, something which most Indians do not have to deal with and also something we Indians often take for granted.

"There is a weight that comes with living in this country (Israel), a weight that many of us carry, a lost friend or family member, or simply the everyday stress of not living in the safest of places," Israeli soldier Shalev Paller says in the article.

Paller then describes India and its people in one of the most beautiful and accurate ways to describe a country as complex as ours.

"When I first arrived in India, I was a sponge. I stood in the middle of a busy market in Old Delhi, took a deep breath, and soaked it all in: the smells, the faces, the colors, the sounds, all so new and strange and intense. An entire road filled with mountains of books. An alleyway too spicy to walk through. A family of six on a single motorbike. A bony old man, with legs of an ox, pulling a massive vegetable-filled cart. A woman with gray tired eyes sitting with her children in the middle of a market," Paller says in the article.

He also recounts the time he spent with the owner of a chai shop and laundry service, known as Chacha, in Delhi. Walking with him through the markets, Paller describes, "was like accompanying the pope through the Vatican". Paller further writes that Chacha was able to recognise the huge burdens troubling Paller and said, "I see pain in you, my friend, you laugh with sadness. The next time I see you, I want you happy, yeah?"

The timeless connection that an Israeli soldier formed with our country shows that we, the people of India, must also have that connection. Perhaps we have forgotten it, or maybe we just need to pay more attention to it.

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Updated Date: Jul 02, 2016 16:02:14 IST

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