April 25, 2012

The India Project: Day 4

Where or where do I start?! India is amazing!! It's this country full of colours and flavours and where everything just seems so over the top. The houses are all painted bright colours, the women wear every shade imaginable, the crowds dance and cheer at the cricket, even when their teams get caught out and the food is either packed full of chilli or packed full of sugar (and always has cardamom). There are no in-betweens and it's fantastic!!

From what I can tell, they are a passionate people who have no problem letting everyone else know it.

And then, at least here in Ooty, there are the mountains. Despite the car-sickness with the mad driving and the windy roads covered in potholes, it's still impossible not to notice the beauty. Today, we drove through the second biggest valley in the world. It's filled with tea plantations and carrot crops and all the small details that the eye can catch are breathtaking, and then you try to capture the whole scene and even when I took a step back I still couldn't absorb it all. I was absolutely in awe.

Try clicking on the photos to view them in a not so cluttered way. I'm working on getting a new and improved blog design!

The Valley.

At the same time though, there's this paradox of all the inequality and difference. It took until today to feel some kind of realisable shock at some of the situations here - which almost makes me feel bad for being so desensitised.

Today, I met Isaac. Isaac has a family to feed and care for, but the best he can do is rely on the care and kindness of strangers.

He was a street sweeper - where you walk along the road with a small broom, sweeping the rubbish into small piles and burning it - but his clothes caught on fire one day and he couldn't get them off fast enough. He suffered severe burns and can no longer work. Fortunately (and I do use the word loosely), Isaac is a beggar who has obvious need, which is often not the case, and so is able to care for his family.

So far, meeting Isaac has been one of the most confronting parts of my trip. My Uncle and Aunt made friends with him while they lived here, and regularly started to help him out. When Isaac heard my Uncle say hello, he was so happy! But all the people walking past stared in disbelief.

What was this Western man doing talking to a beggar?

Knowing that Isaac does well enough to help his sons attend uni makes the situation a lot less confronting, but feeling as if the society would so easily shun someone because of an accident is heartbreaking. It makes me wonder how this complacency can be changed, or if my assumption that it is complacency is somehow completely wrong.

I suppose it's a complex situation, and there is just so much more for me to understand. For the moment however, I shall continue to do what I came here to do. I'll keep exploring, experiencing the culture, and figuring out how I can help, all while having the raddest study break I think anyone has ever had.

In the mean time, please keep Isaac in your thoughts. Burns like his will never fully heal and I can only imagine how hard it must be for him.

With love from India,
Rhi xx

Who we had lunch with today.
My Uncle's friends, Roy & Ashkew, and my Uncle,
leaning down so Ashkew wouldn't feel too short.
And a hipster photo of a window :D

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