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After thoughts...

Written on: Monday June 22nd, 2009

A journal entry from: India

It was what they promised - a patchwork of people and places so different from one another you stand no chance of being able to slap a label on what is "India". I have only just begun to sort through the many layers of the country that were presented to us as we travelled geographically and deeper into the culture. The most complicated and impactful layers have forced me to adjust my views of both North America and India in terms of, among other things, consumerism, poverty, religion, and certain attitudes on both parts. I don't feel as though I can capture all of these things in one blog, but bare with me as I try to convey a few honest thoughts, struggles, and impressions left over from this incredibly rich experience - some expected, some the opposite.

Poverty can be so black and white in one's mind. Perhaps the most difficult for me to process has been all that surrounds this issue. To give you a picture, I have experienced two things: I watched a young boy sleeping on a train platform - dirty, raggy clothes, no shoes. Perhaps having to do with the fact that he literally looked like an island upon the concrete, I saw him and understood - truly UNDERSTOOD - that nobody cared where he was. He was ALONE. I thought about my family - people who had me on their hearts. I have NEVER been truly alone. My heart can barely handle the thought of his situation. In the second situation, I was taken advantage of because of my skin colour and assumed economic status. People demanded money from me as though a debt was owing, and as though I had the means to give out money or buy something from every person asking or offering... things were expected of me.

Layers... 

I find my eyes and heart opened to the more complex nature of human struggle. More specifically, I have adjusted my attitude away from the perhaps subconscious notion that North Americans are basically "bad" as a result of their avid spending and need for more, more, more... while also gaining the realization that impoverished souls cannot be deemed as basically "good" simply because of their economic situation. I will give you one sentence to summerize these and any other realizations had in India: "Humans are everywhere". And the humans who fill this earth are all choosing healthy or unhealthy ways to be. I suppose my thoughts lay on a more sociological level than economic or political but people are what make up the world, and it can be seen that people are basically the same everywhere. An idea often spoken of holds much truth in my mind, and that is that the solutions to poverty, consumerism, and a world void of love will fall into place only when an individual takes the time to look at their own self and start chasing hard after the road less travelled of personal health and love. The state of every heart counts in this world.

I must also say that I became frustrated with the fear and mistrust that seem to make themselves at home in many peoples' hearts in regards to countries such as India. I have been guilty of this. But after experiencing time and time again the extreme generosity, hospitality, and open hearts of the people, I fell in love with the souls who make up that country. This was the most beautiful, diverse, and awe-inspiring place I have seen - in people and sights. I am amazed by the ways they live and humbly thank them for everything we were able to experience.

I will leave the spilling out of my convictions to that, and for the rest we can perhaps share in a conversation sometime!

To summerize, here are words that pop into my mind when looking back over the last two months: adventure, dirt, constant movement, colours, beautiful faces, religion, icons, naan, cows, grandiose nature, dogs, "come look my shop", rupees, sweat, tuk tuks, curry, still sweating, ceiling fans, internet cafes, invented spellings, cornflakes, trains, buses, squat pots, pollution, breathtaking children, begging, bartering, milk tea, beauty and more beauty.

I don't think a place can change a person. However, a place, travel, certainly sheds light on what already exists inside of you and provides a little more insight on who you want to become. Foreign surroundings, breath-taking scenery, quick decisions, excitement, fatigue... they reveal how much life, stability, and love exist within yourself when the energy is not there to back you.

Because of India I see more clearly who I am and how to love, and because of this I am changed.

 

From pam on Jun 23rd, 2009

I have so enjoyed this blog - thank you for sharing.

From your travel buddy on Jul 28th, 2009

Hey nelle, this reply is sooo late but what an amazing blog. You totally captured India in summary, which is an extremely difficult thing to do!!!! One word I will add to your list.....PANEER!!!!!!!!!!!!