By MacLean Thomas
During 20 days, myself along with my classmates traveled through 5 major places in India. Through these travels, we got a taste of what India really is – away from the distractions of what it is not.
From the near freezing swims in the Ganges along Rishikesh to the scorching heat in the Andamans, or the snow capped mountains of Agora to the heavily populated Delhi, every place and experience was unique in its own way. I found that the diversity and dense differences in culture, environment, social norms and location were far more than my mind can comprehend. They had to be experienced.
Evan introduced me to an important idea in Agora – the idea of simplicity. Upon arrival, I looked at Agora as a place of simple operation. However, far more complexity lies in that cloud of assumption. Farming techniques, religion, different castes, and somehow finding the energy to work 24-7 is something that cannot be appreciated at first glance.
I experienced for the first time in my life being the minority in an area. I remember coasting through Old Delhi in the back of a rickshaw and observing the smiles and waves that I received. I felt not only welcomed but appreciated in every place we traveled through, certainly a different minority experience than I have observed at home. It made me think about those issues differently.
Whether it be Balbir, my host parent, welcoming me with open arms and sending me a prayer before my departure or Praveen inviting me to live with him if I happen to return, there seems to be a sense of home that ties to India. The unknowingness surrounding India as a whole evokes a constant curiosity, a place so different yet homelike forms a whole new platform of learning. Unlike any place I’ve been to, India feels inevitable in my return.
The unknowingness surrounding India as a whole evokes a constant curiosity, a place so different yet homelike forms a whole new platform of learning. Unlike any place I’ve been to, India feels inevitable. I know I will return, as I have already in my mind.