I went to India many times and I hope to be able to go again because I feel very good in India. I feel good because it is hot and the heat accelerates my existence like a drug.
I feel very good because in India life is not hidden: neither life nor death; I see children running down the street, little girls leaving school in their blue and pink dresses and ribbons and flowers in their hair, I see people on bicycles leaving with piles of straw on their heads. In India I see old people sitting in the shade of a tree and I see other old people slowly dying lying in the sun on the steps of the temple; I see healthy people, I see sick people, I see poor people and rich people, more or less, and I see straight people and people all crooked, all in the street, in the midst of fuss, screams, horns, bells bicycles, in the midst of wandering white cows, sad cows.
In the streets, in the paths, in the countryside, the presence of the universe is everywhere, it takes the name of various divinities, it takes infinite figures, sometimes even a red sign, a silver card, a fire, an immense procession with elephants, flags, drums and flower necklaces. The universe is everywhere, everyone is the universe, the whole Earth is the universe, sick and healed are the universe: wherever there is God and whoever is God.
Therefore India is also full of temples: large temples, small temples, very small temples; even some street corners can become a temple. In India, ancient temples and older temples and new temples are always full of people, day and night. Even if I have no religion for me, in those temples I feel very good, there are calm people, they all walk barefoot, there are mysterious shadows and unexpected lights, sometimes even immense trees, decorated with faded fabric ribbons or from bells or statuettes, there are also people who sell stuff, people who bring oil, people who run after children, people who wash themselves in large green pools, people who sleep on the ground and even people who stand there looking into space.
Those who look into space are the ones I like most of all; because only they are totally part of the universe. Where does the universe look? In silence, the universe rolls on itself, sends out radiations, temperatures, gravitations, accelerations, etc., and looks into the void.
Where do the springs, the winters, the storms look, where does the sea look? In the void. Only we look at the alarm key, the purse, the watch, the date of birth, the name on the identity card provided by the town hall.
Instead in India there are those who stare into space. There are also those who sleep on the ground, in any place, those who die slowly in the sun, on the steps of a temple and who are then burned forever, in the dust of the sunset.
When all uncomplicated existence, existence reduced to itself is on the street, when it is not hidden, it is not covered with lies, fakes, cunning, secrets, when it is all on the way, then I feel good, I have nothing more to lose: the flowers no longer scare me, not even the colors, not even the smiles, not even the corpses, taken on foot towards the river, perhaps not even the poverty, which belongs to others but which could also be mine; maybe I could even take it on me.
This is why I feel good in India; every time I feel like I’m bathed in an immense purifying storm, every time I stay a little more naked, every time I have experienced something more, it seems to me to be a little clearer, a little lighter.
Ettore Sottsass, India, in “Casa Vogue”, (1994)