Madam - ChikmaglurIndians generally have a very romantic view of life. Poetic turns of phrase are common and it seems everyone loves a good romantic story – preferably a true one.

And if, when someone’s just told you how they met their wife or the joyful thing their grandmother did, if you nod sagely and say ‘you Indians, so romantic…’

Well, everyone will smile and nod, and agree shyly, but rather enthusiastically.

It’s a charming trait – if you called people romantic in the UK they’d be fairly askance – and although the Irish love to believe they have a poetic soul, romance has been rather degraded to become something rubbishy and chocolate box-y.

But there is poetry and romance a plenty in this country. Witness my lovely colleague telling me about her weekend in the coffee country around Chikmaglur. She was describing how it was a little cold and wet (as it’s high altitude, and was a while back, near the start of the monsoon) – but she doesn’t tell me that, she says, ‘it was wonderful. We were truly sitting in the lap of nature’. And then she made that lovely head tilt and hand rotation movement which implies that’s all there is to say about that.

Sitting in the lap of nature? isn’t that the best phrase to describe a cold damp weekend in the mountains, with at least one whingy teenager that didn’t want to be climbing up a hill?

That is truly a poetic soul – in a deeply romantic country. India, you charm me.