First World problems, Third World problems

“I want to live,
I want to give
I’ve been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold

It is bittersweet as this school year comes to a close.  Although I am excited for this summer, and my upcoming final semester at Kent State, many of my friends are graduating.  I cannot imagine returning to Kent for my final semester in the fall without them.

Over a month ago, we returned home from India, and it is hard to believe how much my life has changed since returning.  I still have the string on my wrist that I received on my last day in Mumbai.  I guess in some way, the string serves as a constant reminder of what I experienced while in India, and everything I left behind.

I don’t exactly know if it has provided the good luck the man promised me it would provide, nor do I know if I believe in luck, but I don’t plan on removing it in the near future nevertheless.  I guess luck is whatever you make of it.

I believe this sums up everything for the most part and I think this will be my final post for awhile.  On a lighter note, our class finally launched our website.  Everyone in my class contributed to producing this website.  Please take an opportunity to look at all of our hard work:

http://www.datelinedelhi.org/ 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To each their own

Image

“A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.”

Since being back in the United States, I have had so much homework to catch up on, but little motivation to do so as summer-time is rapidly approaching. I have recovered from jet lag and food poisoning for the most part, but Monica has been so sick since leaving India which is worrying me.  She has gone to the hospital though, and she will hopefully be ok with a few days’ rest.

Today, I talked with Anu.  I miss Delhi and all of our Amity friends so much.  Although it makes me happy to hear from my friends, it brings about certain sadness as it makes me miss India.

Anu spoke of Rani, and some of the hospital patients sleeping on the streets.  Since I have left Delhi, she has spoken with Rani.  Rani is still on the streets, and is still waiting for help.  Anu said she wanted to help, and was going to try to do something for those people on the streets.  It makes me feel as though I am in the wrong place right now.

I am sitting at my office desk, enjoying an ice tea in my climate-controlled space, and all I can do is think about how there is no other place I would rather be than on the streets of Delhi helping those people.  I feel so guilty that my presence in their lives was so brief, and how I was simply allowed to board a plane and leave when I could have done more.

I feel as though I am not done with India, and India isn’t done with me.  I keep thinking about how I have to go back and how I feel so out of place now while at home. I just look around at the people around me, and I am absolutely embarrassed.  Since returning home, one person told me that all of the things that have suddenly become so important to me did not concern him, and then preceded to ask me why he should even bother or needed to care.

The only response I could even think to offer was so simplistic in that we are all human.  The fact that someone I knew could look at images of people as such, and not even feel the slightest bit of feeling almost brought tears to my eyes.  I don’t understand how many people within this world can be so heartless and so cold.

I guess the one thing that I can even think to ask right now is that one day we will all end up in the same place and die, and then what will matter?  I guess to each their own…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Home

“Fill your heart with people who proved they belonged there and who you truly love unconditionally.”

After landing in the United States yesterday morning, I immediately asked my professor if it was time to go back to India.  From the small window in the plane, I could see that the sun that I became so accustomed to seeing was hidden by layers of clouds, and the anxiety of what was going to happen next was gone.

I knew that I would leave the airport, come back to Kent, Ohio, and the next morning I would be sitting in economics class at the exact same time as landing in America the day prior.

I know that the rest of my life here follows a pretty straightforward and busy schedule, and all of the problems and concerns that I had just 3 weeks ago were going to be waiting for me when I returned.

What I didn’t expect was the amount of things that I had to get used to in the United States.  The first meal I had at the airport in the United States, which was hardly a success to say the least, I tried paying for in Rupees until I realized where I was and actually needed to count pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters again.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to re-adjust to was the fact that I could simply drink tap water.  When I brushed my teeth shortly after coming home, I reached for my bottle of water, but then realized that I did not need to do this anymore.

I cannot believe that something as simple as a glass of water is one of the biggest things I took for granted in my life.  I never imagined what it would be like to not be able to simply grab a glass, fill it up and start drinking.

I also have never felt so fortunate to call where I live home.  I have clean water, I can take hot showers, and I can sleep in a bed inside of a temperature controlled home.  So many people in this world cannot even say they have a bed to come home to at the end of each day, or a door to close so they know they are safe.  I know those people whom I met on the streets of Old Delhi would never have those things and never know what that even feels like.   These are the things that no one ever thinks about before they go to sleep each night, and until recently, this was something I have never thought about either.

I cannot say that things will ever go back to “normal” for me.  With thoughts of the lives I briefly entered constantly flooding into my head, I don’t think things can be as they were before.

All of the kind faces I have met in Old Delhi are thousands of miles away now, and I realize I don’t know if I will ever see those people again. I don’t know if all of those people on the streets would ever get the medical treatments they needed, and I didn’t even know if they would be still alive in the weeks to come.

I can’t decide if knowing that these people are on the streets is worse than not knowing what is going to happen to them. How can that not bother me?

After this entire experience, I cannot say for certain where I will go in my life, but I know as long as I can help people and produce some reaction to all of the horrible things in the world I see, I know I will be in the right place.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All the Places you will go: Mumbai

“And when things start to happen,
don’t worry.  Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.”

“OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!”

These last few weeks have made me reminiscent of my childhood years when my parents read Dr. Suess’ ‘All the Places you will go’ to me. I never thought about the world beyond the lines in that story.

Upon exiting the Mumbai Airport, the first thing I noticed was the smell.  Although it didn’t smell exactly familiar like Delhi, it still reminded me of the poorer areas of Old Delhi.  The smells of sewage filled the air immediately.

However, I don’t necessarily look at the disconcerting smells as a reason to not visit India.  Despite everything, I look at my time in India as an incredible learning and eye-opening experience.

Today we visited the Elephant Caves, and before we left this morning I excitedly laced up my Chucks and took nearly twice the recommended amount of medicine to get me through today, my final day in India, and the spelunking I was excited to do.

What I didn’t expect is that I would have to essentially climb a mountain in 120 degree weather to get to the caves.

Upon first impression, I was thinking to myself that this experience was about to suck, and I probably should just have stayed at the hotel and used the free 2200 RS (about 45 US dollars or so) Internet package I managed to weasel out of the guy at the front desk…

However, I started climbing.  When I reached the summit of the mountain and the caves, I looked down at the far way I have come.  I realized I traveled half-way across the world, literally boat-hopped, took a boat to some landmass somewhere in the Arabian Sea, and then climbed a mountain.

What have you done?

But in all seriousness in standing up on the summit I realized I have never been so far away from home and everything I know.  I was standing on a summit of a small mountain in the Arabian sea surrounded by monkeys and wild birds, and a giant body of water and haze.  Mumbai wasn’t visible through the haze, neither was home–I was somewhere in the world.

I didn’t come to India to “find myself,” but I ended up learning the world is a lot bigger than I thought it was just a few short weeks ago, and I learned I am capable of doing things I never otherwise thought I could do.

No one told me to come here, and no one told me I had to like it. But tomorrow when I leave India, I know I will leave a much better person than I came. I cannot wait to return to India one day to see all of my friends.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Arabian nights like Arabian days…

“But you’d have to walk a thousand miles in my shoes just to see what it’s like to be me.  I’ll be you, let’s trade shoes, just to see what it’d be like. To feel your pain, and you’d feel mine.  To go inside each other’s minds, just to see what we’d find.”

Again, I am posting another photo of my shoes today… I think it is interesting to think about all of the places I have gone within the past few weeks, and how I wish many other people in this world could walk a mile in my shoes and see the same things I have seen.

We are currently leaving Candolim Bardez, Goa, and the lovely Arabian Sea.  Candolim Bardez is a Portugese settlement in Goa, located in South India.  There, we spent 2 days on the beach and trying to get over severe food poisoning from Delhi.  While in Goa, I was given a brief, but much needed break from life, and a chance to reflect on the past few weeks of my life.

I don’t exactly know if that was a positive thing or not, and I haven’t quite figured that out.  In between being bothered on the beach to buy various items, and getting sun burned, I am starting to feel anxious. I feel anxious about the things I have left behind, and the things to come.

Sitting on the beach in Goa made me think about Delhi, and how I miss all of my new friends.  I thought about all of the new people I have met, and how their stories have truly touched and changed my life.  I thought about the things those people might be doing, and I couldn’t help but think about how unfair it is that I am sitting on a beach, while they are sitting on the streets waiting for help that may never come.  I thought about Rani, Darsham, Assam, Kunti, and many others and how they were probably in the same place I last saw them near the metro-station. It feels as though I placed a bookmark here in my life that one day I will return to in India.

I can’t also help but think of returning to Kent, Oh and all of the problems I left behind in my life there. The week before I left for Delhi was not the best week of my life by any means, so I am scared of what I am returning to.  Sometimes I think it would just be easier to stay a half world away, then go back home and deal with things that I have come to realize don’t really matter to me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Phir Milengey (Until we may meet again)

Phir milengey Delhi!

We are off to Goa, and I am having mixed feelings about leaving.  I could honestly stay in Delhi for many months to come and still be unsatisfied with how little I have done and seen and the work I have done.

We are officially alumni of the university and are more than welcome by the faculty and the Colonial to return at any point in time. I hope to return to India soon to see all of my friends once again. Last night’s dinner was very emotional. I cannot believe it is already time to leave all of our friends at Amity.

Words cannot even begin to describe all I learned and experienced while in Delhi. Delhi is a place where kindness and joy can be found even in the darkest corners within the city.

Never in my life I have been treated with such kindness, care, generosity, and absolute selflessness from complete strangers.  It was completely eye opening to have absolute strangers, many of which had so little in life, care so much about me and welcome me so graciously into their lives.

The one thing that still is imprinted within my brain, and may forever stay there, is when a homeless man wanted Katy and I to sit down for dinner with him and his wife on their mat on the street.  He was concerned that we were hungry, and I couldn’t believe someone in that position could even find it within himself to offer me anything.  I feel so guilty because I knew all along in my backpack I had more than enough rupees to feed him and his family for many months. And, my camera is probably worth more than he may ever see during his life.

I felt so powerless because nothing I could do for these people is enough.  It makes me wonder what the hell we are all doing with our lives back at home.

I learned the biggest and greatest thing anyone can ever do in life is to care for others around us, and then what else really matters? We’d all be happy if that were the case.  I’ll leave you with that to think about.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Remedies

“Docta Docta, where you at?
Give me somethin’.”

I don’t exactly know what happened, but I woke up feeling sick today. And, yet again I am amazed by the kindness I have found half-way across the world: Amerjot and Anu brought me this green drink with pepper floating in it.  In all honestly it looked like a drink filled with sewage with mold growing on top.  It wasn’t appetizing in the least, but I did as I was told, and took the drink like it was a shot.  I tried throwing it back, but after a few attempts with this drink, I discovered why Amerjot and Anu wouldn’t tell my why I need to drink it.

I am sincerely sorry to the cleaning lady who witnessed this spectacle as I ran across the hall into the bathroom, but I am feeling much better.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment