Glad the headline grabbed your attention.
India is a rich country.
People there have the single most powerful weapon that matters.
Not nuclear weapons.
Not even tea & spices.
The unbeatable, sincere, wide smile.
During my 3-week trip in India, my Indian friends were asking me whether I’m having a blast, where I’m going next and whether I need any help.
Meanwhile some of my dear European friends were asking me whether it is really THAT dirty, whether I have diarrhea and whether I have already had a mosquito bite, because malaria is a very dangerous disease…
To alleviate (to coin a phrase) the “ill-curious” and their suffering:
Yes, there is poverty around every corner, there is garbage and I saw children throwing bottles in the sea instead of pebbles.
Misery exists all around. Of course, if that is what you’re looking for.
As to the diarrhea, I’m happy to inform you I fully enjoyed the fantastic Indian cuisine.
My trip to India was a trip within myself. What would I really see?
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, as The Fox advised the Little Prince.
“Ok, but are most buses really without windows?”
Yes! What a major inconvenience! Once you are on an Indian bus, the lack of windows would be your smallest concern. In other words, evangelists should really think about preaching in the Indian buses. When you see the manner of driving, you immediately start praying. 🙂
“And did you see people peeing on the streets?”
Yes! And you know what… they actually seemed truly relieved after peeing 🙂
Unlike the “rich” Western travellers who were coo coo-ing about a ‘proper WC’, ‘Oh my Gosh, it’s disgusting!’ They seemed very tense.
“So did Indians share any recipe for happiness?”
Western folks just love mindless recipes and formulas 🙂
But I think I can shed some light on that matter.
The Indian people I met along the way have just surrounded themselves with amazing colours (I have hardly seen any black or grey colours: the corporations’ favourites).
Also super intense, joyful, emotional music with the weirdest lyrics possible (because they don’t care what others think. They want to have FUN!)
And let’s not forget about the chaotic dances (because it’s important to grab the moment with your friends – without airs and graces).
Finally: the bargaining! True pleasure and art! It’s just the daily hobby.
The secret sauce? I guess it is staying true to themselves that makes their faces radiant and their hearts glow.
Do you think I am exaggerating? Maybe you’ll label it as the ‘post-travel, romantic effect’. But I have evidence 🙂
Working in the creative industry, I’ve learned to research.
My personal brief for this trip was to smile at everyone. No matter how hot it is outside, no matter how unfriendly some people might seem, no matter how many mosquitos or rats are around me.
I got a 100% response rate. To spell it out: A hun-dred per-cent.
Not a single person did look me as if I am crazy for smiling ‘without a reason’, ‘without asking for anything in return’.
Not a single person did look worried, because don’t forget the beginning of this article: Indians are rich in smiles. It costs them nothing to smile back. They don’t think twice about it.
“How about the driving? Is it as bad as Youtube videos show?”
Haha, yes! Maybe “worse” when you (hopefully) live it!
What happens on the Indian roads is a mystery to the foreign traveller. It’s some kind of live magic performance under the music of hundreds of sound horns.
The cultural difference here is that Western people use the horn to curse somebody and to show general annoyance and impatience. While Indian people use the sound horn as a communication tool, just saying “Hey, I am here, I am passing.”
Long live road symbioses in India!
“Ok! But are you SURE you didn’t get the Delhi belly?”
Convinced. It must have been really amusing to the restaurant staff that I was sweating over a portion of butter chicken, which an Indian Friend of mine defined as “sweet”… Wherever I have had my meals, I’ve encountered acceptance of the fact that I am a foreigner. I had the freedom to clean my utensils before use, I have been asked for my spice tolerance, and I have been checked on during the meal and after it.
Indian food is a celebration to the palate.
India is a celebration to the soul. If one takes everything as it is.
A bus without windows is less scary than a face without a smile.
Eating without utensils is less worrying than a heart with no sympathy in it.
Malaria is less dangerous than indifference, negativity and envy.
I am happy I shared my Indian truth with you. Have you been in India? Please share your experiences below. I promise: No judgment, only acceptance!