The end of my trip to India
So, as I write this I'm waiting as a standby passenger on a flight from Newark, NJ to Florida, hoping to get home tonight and to be with the folks on Christmas.
I've been thinking alot since my departure of India has come along of what my impressions of India are. I feel they've about as diverse as India itself. My trip was, in turns, heartwarming, shocking, amazing, harrowing and sublime. Many of my co-workers showed me many kindnesses, and were really wonderful people. They really worked hard to make my feeling of being in Hyderabad and Mumbai special, and I was really appreciative. But then I would also run across people, mainly those how make their living plying the tourist trade, that were deceitful, aggressive, and sly. But then again, my hosts in both Agra and Jaipur were beyond any hint of reproach. They were honest, kind, generous, and extremely accommodating. They really made my last week enjoyable and safe.
So, really, what I'm trying to say is that India provided many extremes of experience that seemed to change quickly from one to another. It's definitely a complex world with rules that may seem similar to the west in appearance, but aren't really. Also, to even refer to India as if it were one cohesive entity may not really be correct. It's such a diverse collection of states with such a wide variety of influences over the ages, that it's amazing they are able to maintain the unity they have. (And sometimes I thought it was hard for US to keep it together!)
However, if I were to make broad, perhaps largely baseless, generalizations of the Indian populace I met, I would say they tend to be kind. Often pure strangers, in passing, would exchange smiles easily. One of the many delightful moments was when two boys just started to speak to me from their scooter as they were motoring along side the tuk-tuk I was in. Just, really, to say hello and find out where I was from. The Indian populace seem to be, as a rule, friendlier and easier to interact with than many westerners can often be, especially if the westerners are from cities as densely compacted as Mumbai.
But, really, all my experiences are rather surface. It would take many more trips and much more time spent there to really get the feeling of the place. It's just that much more complex and different than our western-european cultures. But definitely an adventure!
Well, the plane here is about to board, I'd better get ready to go!