The India of my dreams would have to be the colorful fantasy of Sarah Crewe in A Little Princess. This consists of riding elephants, warrior princes, helpful monkeys and Hindi Magic. Spices are in the air in India. The music carries legends of Brahma, Krishna and Vishnu. The people are peaceful and greet you with hands together and heads bowed in prayer “Namaste.”
The words of my friend and travel companion Chirag, “Get real!” After landing in Ahmedabad international in India the first Indian interaction I had was being shoved through the customs line. Someone unhooked one of the airport security line poles and a rush of people slipped through cutting those who were already waiting in line. Some woman shouts out in English “They say India has changed, but we don’t change we stay the same.”
India is beautiful in it’s own right. Sometimes those beauties are hidden behind the crowds and dilapidated buildings, but they are still very present if you are willing to see and believe. Actually the crowds can be pretty, all the women wearing bright colored saris and cholis (Indian style dresses). And if you look around where you are shopping the street stalls may be surrounded by ancient palaces and temples.
I experienced many exciting things during my 3 week stay in India, one of my favorites was riding around in a rickshaw. They are little three-wheeled autos commonly yellow and green that get you from place to place like taxi cabs. The drivers take them to dangerous speeds. The traffic in India is unbelievable. The population of India is pushing past that of China and there are people and cars everywhere. There are traffic rules, no one follows them. The belief “Rules are meant to be broken” surely applies on the Indian Expressway.
Monkeys are practically citizens and do what they please. They are out in the country, in the jungle as well as roaming around the city claiming it as their own. They pop up everywhere. I’ve seen monkeys peering down and spying on wedding guests from the tops of tents. I was told time and time again not to get too close or they would steal my camera. And no wonder why its so difficult to keep India clean even the monkeys liter. I saw this monkey sitting on a pole outside of a cyber cafe eating a banana, and when he was through he tossed the peel aside without a care in the world.
We hopped on a tour bus around the city of Ahmedabad, which is located in the north west region of India. It is about 800 kilometers from Delhi. The sights we saw were breath taking. Gandhi Ashram, where Gandhi lived and prayed for 12 years while he was working on making India independent from Britain, was a sight to see. Oh and the Hindu-Jain Temples were awing! The tour bus hit all the hot spots of the city, however it was quite rushed. One day I think I’d like to go back and take my time and appreciate all that I’ve seen and look again with new insight.
Last in the state of Gujarat India, caucasians are rare. I’m not sure why they do not get more tourists with all the temples and palaces in the city of Ahmedabad. I suppose it is because not all of them are maintained as they ought to be. Which is such a shame because they are sublime. When I would be touring around, taking in everything, people were taking in me. They were stopping and staring and taking pictures of me. People even waved to me, came up to me to shake my hand, and asked to take pictures of me. It was funny at first and then more unnerving as crowds easily developed. There were a couple times I considered wearing a burka out in public like the modest Muslim women, but it was a bit too hot for me.
This trip was amazing. I went to India with the purpose to visit with my friend Chirag and her family, to really see and feel how the people lived. We went to a couple different weddings, visited grand buildings as I previously described, and took part in the International Kite Festival, and everything in between. I really got a taste of India and it was spicy!