Chris Savage and his post inspired me to post this piece I wrote whilst in India. I’ve resisted posting it for nearly a year now and I have to say I’m glad to finally push it out to the world! Chris’ post is about not letting ‘the conditions’ become your valid excuse for failure and I guess that’s exactly the type of resolve and positivity I witnessed in India. It’s what keeps India going. I wrote this piece to sum up my experience with the Indian people and their attitude towards daily life.
India in abundance
Welcome to a country where anything is possible. A land of constant reinvention and rejuvenation. To say India is a work in progress would be a serious understatement; this country is permanently ‘under construction’. The problem is, no one person, religious group, or government seems to be running ‘project India’. From my observations, India is the people’s project and everyone from the humble chai wallah to the regal Raj is involved and playing their part. It’s organised chaos, it’s important, it’s life threatening, it’s breathtaking, and it’s all for fun. I’ve never seen so much urgent work being carried out in such high spirits. Forget ‘whistle while you work’ these people sing and dance.
Once you spend a little time with the locals you soon realise that India has an amazingly cheeky sense of humour. I didn’t recognise it as humour at first, mainly because I’d never seen this strain before. It’s fun loving, naughty, down to earth, forgiving, empathetic, inclusive, and altogether welcoming. I don’t think sarcasm exists and the notion of self-deprecation is assumed and automatically implied. No, this is a jolly humour steeped in humility and acceptance. No wonder everyone is smiling in India.
I’ve never witnessed so much concentrated excitement in my life. You can see it bursting behind their eyes and dancing across their lips… Indians have no poker face.
India is safe; in fact, I’ve never felt safer walking the streets of any country. Sure, people want your money but they don’t want to take it, they want to earn it. Indian’s are always on and they’re always selling. Marketplaces are like a giant party where you have two choices – You can either stand still in the middle of the dance floor and wonder why you feel out of place and pushed around, or you can grab a partner and join the dance. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had conducting everyday business and I just hope I can bring some of its essence back to my agency in Australia.
I love the way local people make you feel in this country – instantly part of the fun and in on the joke. The idea of family is sacred and ruthlessly protected yet completely open to new members, friends, and ideas. It’s normal to be invited into a stranger’s home, offered chai or lunch, and engaged in deep and exploratory conversation. The concept of small talk doesn’t exist here. Indians want to know who you really are and what makes you tick. They are curious, knowledgeable, and endlessly enthusiastic… just like a child prodigy.
The whole world may be looking at India from an economic, social, and cultural point of view but let it be known that India is looking at the rest of the world too. The average person on the street in India has incredible general knowledge, instinctive mathematical skill, and a flair for understanding human nature. I’m constantly blown away by the intelligence of India.
There’s an amazing gift waiting for you in India but first you must loosen your grip on normality, dilute everything that you think you know, and eventually submit yourself to the people. India will love you when you let her.