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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

‘I RE­MEM­BER the last time the world was talk­ing about In­dia. It was a fleet­ing fash­ion mo­ment fol­low­ing the Bea­tles’ trip. Nehru col­lars and beads came into fash­ion, along with pais­ley mo­tifs in psychedelic colours. Tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion be­came the lat­est fad. Counter-cul­tural types em­braced In­dia as the an­tithe­sis of the West, lost to the empty ma­te­ri­al­ism of the fa­mous ‘‘plas­tics’’ scene in the movie The Grad­u­ate. In­dia wasn’t back­ward; it was wise and spir­i­tual. Plas­tics pre­vailed, and In­dia faded into the back­ground . . . Liv­ing in Bom­bay in 1967 and 68, I felt like I had been ex­iled from the real world. My grand­par­ents’ flat, though sur­rounded by the homes of Bol­ly­wood stars, had no TV. Across the main road was a reek­ing slum.’

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