I wrote a farewell to India so below is a special blog – which I feel is one of my more emotive and well told stories…
There is something quite special about India. Especially when I am currently holding on to the handle of a train watching people hang off the side of the train wearing there Apple ear pods. There’s something so beautiful about the craziness that I felt, experienced, smelt and cherished. The feeling you get when you attempt to walk along the road and a Tuk Tuk almost kills you.
Each country has a story to tell. But with India one story is not enough. The noise that polluted my ears from the traffic tells its own story. The dust that rises and falls has its own story. Wild dogs that salvage every drop of water and scrap they can find to survive. Markets that sell everything you don’t need but anything you want. Smells that are mixed in the noise like a tornado. Food that is different in each district of India and different from the world’s interpretation of Indian food.
The story of India I will forever never be able to conclude. India is the greatest mixture of everything that health and safety squashes in western world. I’m not saying it’s a good thing some of the approaches but to see that traffic works with no real enforced rules and absolutely no crashes. To see good being made in the environment is something that did take me by surprise in Mumbai. Around Mumbai they have a lot of campaigns to encourage not to use plastics. There is emphasis on recycling with methods such as large paintings around the city, marketing campaigns by the Indian Premier League, education within communities and local groups. Things like this on the scale they are trying to achieve are naturally challenging. But the drive is still there.
Do I think this country is taken as serious as it should be globally – no not a chance. Bollywood is bigger than Hollywood and some of it’s movies are much more gripping than a fake over written Hollywood script. I know this because I went to the cinema when I was in India. I watched a movie about the death of in An India’s second ever prime minister. This was a true story which has hit the headlines in India because of its portrayal of the government and its intense focus to get the truth. Let’s be frank here – can you imagine if a movie in America went after the present Presidential administration or in the UK a movie about the troubles of Brexit that would blame the politicians. The other element is the country is full of entrepreneurs. Yes, Westerners should look at the people who are selling items on the streets as entrepreneurs and not just street vendors. Everyday the stalls were set up and crowds upon crowds came to buy whatever the product was. Whether it’s sugar cane juice, blow up swimming pools or jeans. Everyday they are there. They push trolleys along the crazy streets and they haggle and work for the business.
I write this with a special bond and connection occurring. I love to get to know people and one way in India is to stand on the train and be extremely close. With some good photography skills I capture the moment I was appreciating the aftershave of the man in front. Each person hangs on for dear life as the station comes closer and they leap. Never again will I complain about commuting – anywhere.
India is a friendly country and sometimes it’s tough but enjoyable to understand. There are two sides. One – you need to be street smart. You need to understand that after someone has given you directions you will 99% most probably be asked for money and followed. Two – accept the smiles and the thousand photos you will be asked for.
I talk to man on the train who explains we are in the luggage compartment. Excellent. I always knew I was baggage…but in all serious he owns a large bag which is full of his cricket equipment. He hopes one day to play for India but he then defeated his ambition by stating “but there’s a long line”. I then went all “motivational” on him and explained that chasing what you want is the most important thing in life. Felt like the start of a coach talking in a changing room before a match and trying to boost the players spirits. He understood but I also understood what he meant. He explained that in India and Mumbai everyone ensures that foreigners have a seat because they may not be used to being “thrown on and off of the train”. But I explained to have a seat would take the whole experience of travelling on the train. He laughed as I watched a man with fresh fish board and throw his box from his head to the floor. There was something quite fishy about the situation.
Delhi was hot, humid and dry. The landlocked city had something burning inside it. It was more chaotic than Mumbai but it had a sense of growth happening that I could see. I visited a nightclub as part of my journey, I went to a Hindu Wedding and I saw so many markets I could become the best trader in the world.
Education is not taken for granted here. Until 25 those in education will complete an MBA. I have walked past many institute of management education centres were groups of people stand outside rehearsing for the exams they are about to take. But the point I make here is India has a future that in a generation will have educated leaders more than any other country. UK, USA, Europe and so on may proclaim some of the world’s top educational institutions but the mindset of the students is exactly what cannot be taught and it’s what India has an ambundance of. I wish students and those that learn would appreciate education the way it should be appreciated. The determination of success and hope for the future is what India have in absolute tons. But there is poverty. But that can be worked upon. Class system is there but that can be broken to help for the future. Healthcare, education and social reform is the three things that will turn the wheel to benefit the future of this Devine country.
I don’t want this to be a recap of tourist sights, instead I wanted this blog to be the opportunity to say – don’t look at countries any more as developing. Look at them as furthering. Furthering education. Furthering tourism. Furthering hope. Benefitting there own countries to benefit the future. Our government in the UK could really take a leaf out of their book.
I don’t just say this but I could never do justice and capture everything about India in one blog. When my book is published next year I promise that the chapter will be as vibrant and beautiful as the India I was welcomed into. So thank you for reading a blog that was about capturing the essence of India and celebrating the goodness of what is actually yet to come.