There was an active pace to touring India. Our minds were racing with all the visual stimuli. On one hand, there were moments of peaceful reflection and on another hand, there was an intensity to the touristic learning process. Because we didn’t know what to expect, really, it made the journey very captivating. Being the second most populated country in the world, it is no wonder the pulse of this land would be so intense. The vivid imagery might have “hit our retinas” initially, but it felt like we had to delay what we felt and comprehended later on in the day. Our tour guide pointed out nuances about the Indian lifestyle and we were so relieved that he did because as we drove past something, we could’ve missed some details–because there was so much to look at!
An outdoor “barber shop” happening in the middle of a fruit stand market was priceless. I admired how the Indian people embraced the outdoors. It seemed like everyone was outside most of the time which stood out to me because in America, it seems like we are indoors so much. Sometimes it was hard to decipher the activity among the scenery. It was challenging for me to avoid looking at the pollution and debris. Although I have seen it before in other countries, it was very much of some landscapes here. Another detail that stood out to me was the multigenerational quality to the Indian lifestyle. Like many other cultures, the old and young are together frequently. This is very common to me since I grew up in a multigenerational household. The adults and children worked together. I observed the children learning from the adults, yet, still playing with their peers and siblings. As someone who evaluates children and young adults for psychoeducational reasons, I think about this cooperative environment and have so many questions about it. I think about their “outdoor classroom” and what emotional stability it must provide. Washing a cow with their peers is a hands-on learning activity that American students would have to go on a field trip to experience! (unless they live on a farm.) The women’s work was so physical! I admired their strength and grace. I might have known, factually, that millions of women carry things on their heads but to see it in person is really stunning. Physical labor in dresses! Another detail we don’t see back home.
Physical labor, feminine dressing and graceful smiles, no matter what the load is that they carry! We saw this “pulse of India” on the Golden Triangle tour of Dehli-Agra- Jaipur and then on down to Udaipur. I am still processing what we envisioned in India. It is what makes India a journey and not just a trip. The heartbeat and pulse of this exotic country is truly unique!
© A Magic Carpet Ride by Gina MIchalopulos Kingsley
photos by Gina Michalopulos Kingsley