Saturday 4 Nov
Random thoughts on my trip....
Well I suppose at the three month mark it is time for a little reflextion on the happenings of my trip thus far.
I think there is a common feeling amongst many backpackers...kind of like a guilt...am I doing enough, am I feeling the culture, am I really experiencing everything. You know it is a blip in the map of your life and you want to make the best of it...in every way possible. It is funny because I also feel this guilt...at first I didnt understand it but now I totally do.
Being here in India has really---how do I say---shaken me up. Out of all the countries I have visited on this trip or any other time in my life...it is by far the one that is the most challenging. People have been emailing me and asking me about the pollution and the poverty...I guess I have been kind of sugar coating things for a few reasons a)I dont want people to worry b)I dont want to give the wrong impression of India.
For the first few weeks yes, it was totally tough and I knew at that point my description of India might not be the greatest. Not because of the families I was staying with but...adjusting takes a heck of a long time. It was quite intense to be living the indian lifestyle with a family...experiencing traditions, food, ways of thinking and just day to day life.
But what a great culture and mind set of the people I have met. I stayed with a total of three families, all very different with their lifestyles. I took away valuable lessons from ALL of them. I mean a learnt traditions---majors traditions from the Dalals and the Paradkars, family values, religious meanings, importance of food!!!! and the list goes on. From the Ugalmuglyes (I cant find the correct spelling...sorry guys!!!) I learnt about Indian politics, westernization of India, pollution----and once again the list goes on.
As I was chillin on the plane today I realized that ok, Ash--give up the guilt thing because you went in and you are doing it. At first Europe was europe and I suppose it was a brave thing but I couldnt really accept the compliments I was receiving. THEN, came India!!! And I have to pat myself on the back. I am doing it, I am in it and man oh man it is tough sometimes.
You know---the question what is India...I mean, I havent been everywhere so I cannot say the 'whole of india'---but what I can say that is it like a melting pot of a languages, food, cultures, many many many people, cows, pigs, camels, monkeys, pollution, autos, rickshaws, kindness, scammers, poverty, wealth, cleanliness, filth----kind of everything.
I met someone who said something that stuck with me...In the Western world when people get sick we put them in a hospital, when people are poor we put them in housing, when people are religious we put them in a church, mosque (whatever)...but in India it is all in your face. EVERYTHING, the mass chaos of people, of poverty, of pollution, of wealth, of colours-----
At first I was just seeing the surface of India---pollution and poverty---but as the days progress I am seeing the beauty in it all and really enjoying it. It is making me a lot tougher...I can tell you that...no more softy shmofty ash (ok well, you know me I will always be a crier!).
SOOOOO----things arent perfect...there are times when I want to give up---ok most of the time. BUT, I am going to get through it and I WILL!!!!
Anyway....if you would like more of Ashley 'Raw' call her on 1-555-555-5555 HAHAHAHAHAHA.
Off to volunteer tomorrow. I am excited.