‘How was India?’
A lot of people have asked me what I thought of India.
It’s a big question because India is a big place.
It’s huge in every imaginable way – population, religion, history, culture.
There’s so much to learn; I found it completely overwhelming.
Mughal ruins crumble beside open drains choked with rubbish. There’s traffic and noise and colour everywhere. Modernity and history squash together like passengers on a train.
Farmers in the most remote corners of the country have brand new mobile phones. Elderly gents wear elegant suit jackets with traditional Rajasthani turbans and lungis (similar to sarongs).
Everything is done by hand. Life is heavily specialised. One person sells peas. Another sells milk desserts. The system works so long as everyone stays in their 1m x 1m space and doesn’t cause a fuss.
India is a tough place. I had to stay resolutely positive to enjoy it. I kept telling myself, ‘You’re an observer. You’re just here to learn’. Somehow that helped me stay up whenever the pollution, traffic, cold showers and incessant parade of vegetarian curries started to get me down.
The thing I hated most? How dirty the streets were.
The thing I loved the most? How unpretentious everyone was.
My lasting impression? That India is complicated. That it would take a lifetime to even begin to understand it. Hopefully I have taken the first step.
Have you been to India? What did you think?