Monday, June 16, 2008

Inadequate Synopsis #1

I can’t remember what I once considered India to be. But sitting here, I know it’s not what I expected. India to me is now a blur of rickshaw rides and horn honks. Of roadside piles of rubble, stray dogs and smoggy air. A series of dilapidated carts and merchant stalls flogging spices, fabrics, plastic toys and overseas phone calls. Whatever you have heard, read, watched or seen – you don’t know India until you come here.

Now, at this point I must refrain from trying to sound like an authority on India. I don’t presume that my one month here is enough to understand the vastness of this country or culture. In fact, day by day my perceptions fluctuate. What you’re reading is at best a case of stage 1 India understanding – MAYBE stage 2 since I’ve traveled elsewhere in the east before.

From what I can tell, India is fond of smacking visitors around. Of then waiting to see who’s left standing, and subsequently rewarding those resilient few by letting them in on her secrets.

I watched an intellectually precocious young man reduced to tears only a few days into our trip. Despite having theorized and written about the inaccuracy of the collective western perception of the mystical east at length, he was the first to be blindsided by India’s whirlwind of overstimulation.

This country graces the patient and open-minded with a glowing internal transformation – a new lens with which to view this world of ours through.

As for all the rest? Hope you packed your anxiety meds.

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