April 22, 2012

The India Project: Days 1 & 2

Well I'm back, and I didn't post any blogs while I was in India which is terrible! Unfortunately though, internet is quite rare and my attempts to set up roaming failed miserably so there you go. To make up for it though, I do have a few posts ready to go that I wrote while I was over there so I'll be posting them over the next few days along with a few photos :) Hope you're all well!

April 12, 2012

It's unbelievably hot down on the plains. I get in the shower, eager to cool off. Feel better, and then the moment I step out of the bathroom I feel sticky again, but that's ok.

I'm not quite sure what I've gotten myself into. India is home to a very patriarchal society. There's separate security checks for men and women, and while it's safe for my cousins to go out and roam around, I always need somebody with me. I understand why, it just feels very strange to me.

There's people and lights and cars everywhere! Power lines are just one big mass of wires and cables, there's only one road rule that anyone cares about and I am, apparently, a rare commodity to be openly stared at. Everyone told me that this is how it would be, but it's not something you understand until it's been experienced. I've had men shoving cameras in my face and others just gaping at me as they walk past. It's a little confronting to say the least.

Just your average power lines.
By the same token, there have been parts that have just been absolutely incredible.

We went to see silk weaving yesterday, which was done in a cottage industries style. Basically, men work in rooms with these old looms, they also live there with their families with bathrooms and kitchens close by. My uncle reminded me that as Westerners, we would usually be calling these sweat shops, but actually, it's standard living in India. It's a good stable job, the provision of food, and a house for these men and their families to live in which is really something.

The silk loom
It's encouraged me a lot in what I went to India this time to achieve, although I'm still in a bit of culture shock I think. I'm also tired. Would be so nice to get a decent sleep...

The cottage industries also showed me how much Indians value education which is great to know. One of the men higher up in the business was showing us the looms, when he suddenly got very excited and took us to meet a young girl, the daughter of the man in the photos with the loom, who'd done extremely well in her exams (488/500) and had also won a talent contest. It was great to know she had that support around her :)

Then we went to Kings and Queens School, a boarding school where most of the kids are from really poor families. It was fun talking to the kids, and seeing their faces light up when I went to take a photo. At one stage, all these boys just poured out of their dorm when they realised I was getting my camera out.

Kings and Queens School
These are the boys that rushed out of the dorm :D
And then there's the joy of the Indian Premier League (i.e. the cricket) which is just a whole new thing in itself. The excitement and the noise and the cheering and the dancing is bizarre! It's utterly fantastic though :D I don't really know how to describe the experience except to say, if you get the chance, go. Even if you hate cricket it's an experience not to be missed, especially when there's guys dancing bollywood style in the seats in front of you (see the shoddy quality video for more) :P

Anyhow, I'm off to catch a casual midnight train that we'll be on for 8 hours or so.

Even though I only left a couple of days ago I am missing everyone at home ever so much. Looking forward to seeing you all again! Much love from India :) xx


Ilka von Torok said...

Inspiring post dear :)
Thanks for visiting my blog!
Now I follow you, if you want follow me back.
xx Ilka

sonia de macedo said...

Wow what an amazing, amazing experience! I've always wanted to go but been somewhat hesitant mainly for the same reasons you had listed too, but it's still on the list! Thanks for sharing this, and thanks for visiting my blog too!

Have an amazing week!