Incredible India?


Room for two more? No Problem!

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. I don’t think anybody can in their first visit to India. I earlier described that India hits you like a sledgehammer. Well, I actually think that jackhammer is a better description of what you get here. There is a constant, regular amount of noise, action, dirt and life that exists all around you. You can choose to celebrate it, or go crazy from it. (most likely a combination of both).

We saw more chaos, smelled more smelled, and experienced more life in a taxi ride from the Calcutta airport to the hotel, than I can imagine in the last five months on the road.

Dancing groups in the streets at night

a dancing group in the streets late night

The city has action all around you. From thousands of beggars sleeping on the street, to all the street food sellers moving around the best fried goodies and chai in disposable clay cups (which are intended to be broken and literally return to the ground/dirt after use), to constant dancing and celebration that seems to come from one direction or another every few minutes.

We actually found ourselves dancing in a circle of a Hindu celebration the first night in town: Drunk of the heat and 8% strong beer, you forget the fact that this was not a normal surrounding before that day and join in the smiling faces.

a big fire in a Park Street building, few blocks from where we stayed

a big fire in a Park Street building, few blocks from where we stay

We also saw a lot of action we didn’t expect. The old crumbling buildings of Calcutta are obviously not set up to hold the population and it shows that the city is literally bursting at the seams. We were direct witnesses to this in a fire that unfortunately killed more than then people, less than 100 feet from our hotel.

The bureaucracy we’ve had to deal with has moved me to open a new chapter of patience. Surprisingly, for a country that has been the champion of technological outsourcing, finding wi-fi enabled hotels, cafes, or restaurants are a fruitless pursuit. (While these places are prevalent in all tourist and non tourist areas in all other countries we’ve visited). The process of buying a prepaid wireless internet connection took me five visits to the store and endless number of forms.

We never got very comfy on the rickshaws, but these girls don't have a problem

a usual mean of transport

Stamps and forms seem to be an interesting way to keep the 1 billion population of India employed. Anything semi-official requires at least two stamps from two different offices. And of course, each office has one person that takes care of the forms and 3-4 more to stare at that person in awe, while sometimes also managing to sip chais.

At first, it’s difficult to see what attracts so many people to India, given all the problems.

our daily stop for breakfast

our daily stop for breakfast

I’ve been reading an interesting book called “HOLY COW” which I bought on the streets of Calcutta, about an Australian woman’s pursuit of life, religion, and spirituality in India. When she researches the Muslims groups in Kashmir, they tell her that Islam is about “ surrender” to god, (or Allah, which in literally the Arabic translation of the same god in the judeo Christian languages). I’m not a religious person, but I understand that surrender is also the way one needs to treat and appreciate India.

There will be a lot of chaos, pollution, and difficulties here, but those are just a part of life for this 1/6 of the world’s population, and once you give in and accept them as a part of life here, there is more to learn and grow from in this country that perhaps anywhere else in the world.


It only feels like chaos

1 comment to Incredible India?

  • Qu´maravilla ver India y todo lo que es: espiritualidad, templos, Budas, gente, cultura, vestidos,comidas….estoy con -vds., a través de fotos y comentarios, los quiero y admiro por lo que hacen.Besos:Tía Elda.

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