For a long time now, I don't remember how long, I have been fascinated with Latin America. It evokes many synonyms within my mindscape: images of Salsa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Caribbean islands, Romance languages and most fondest of all - La Bamba. I don't know how many of you have listened to the La Bamba. Its just an excuse to groove and move. One cannot just sit there listening to La Bamba. There have been many versions of the song and all of them are equally well-rendered. Of course I cannot find much difference except the few improvisations by the singers. Latin Americans can spot the differences, I presume.
In spite of not having visited Latin America, I feel quite at home thinking about the place. The whole place with its diverse cultural potpourri seem a collage of beautiful images. Have you ever felt that way without having visited a place. I feel that kinship with United Kingdom as well. Probably studying about England and the other places in and around UK in my literature books has given me a voyeuristic vision of those places.
Marquez is another image of Latin America. I have immensely enjoyed his One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Magic realism, dreams and a love that seems surreal is what Marquez offers to me and that can be associated with Latin America as well.
Many times there are certain images and flashes that colour the mind while thinking of a place. India for many is snakes and elephants while for me Latin America is Jennifer Lopez, Fidel Castro and Salsa. How are these images formed? Are they the projection of media, books or popular lore. For me it started out with individual aspects say, the flamboyant dances then people like Castro then La Bamba . . . Now linking all the different images, I call Latin America a collage of all the aforementioned things. But is that all that is Latin America?? I am afraid not. It is much more than that. For people living there, it might be something totally different as India is much more to me than snakes and elephants.
Whatever said and done, Latin America stands for energy, vitality, sexiness and a certain vibrancy to me. If you've been to Latin America, then tell me if my images describe the place succinctly or is it much more than that.