August 20, 2007
India is ...

... a sensory explosion. On every front you are assaulted by new sights, smells and sounds: beautiful rainbow coloured saris lighting up the sidewalks; pungent smells of curry wafting by no matter where you are; a constant barrage of noise as the never-ending traffic jams clog the streets. The country is in constant motion and yet nothing ever happens quickly. The buildings are half built; the sidewalks are covered in construction materials; the cars are driving in all directions (including backwards on the highway); and the cows have free range of the streets. On the surface, it all appears so chaotic, yet underneath the surface, you sense that there is order to things that only the Indians understand.

... a celebration of life. India for me, will forever be characterised by that beautiful, wide smile that strangers gift me as they look with curiousity at this Chinese stranger in their midst. Men and women, old and young they look at me and grin and then as I exchange a "hello" or two ... they burst into peals of delighted laughter as they try to entice me to dally.

... a juxtaposition. Old and new, rich and poor, India is a constant state of contradictions. New glass and steel developments tower above the makeshift tents and people sleeping under the fly-overs. All Indians are not created equal - and the gulf between rich and poor speaks to that. The abject poverty is astonishing, a reflection of how difficult it has been to knit together a country with so many divides. Beneath the surface rages tension from discrimination between races, religions, sex and castes. I struggle to understand, but from the outside looking in ... that is not possible.

... tiring. The constant stimuli is exhausting and although I am fascinated by everything going on around me ... there are moments when the seclusion of the hotel is extremely enticing.

Posted by nicki at August 20, 2007 05:42 PM
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