For those that have been following my Instagram posts, or read my September Shareable Moments, you would have noticed that I was in India for the last week of September. My Company, which has a large office in India, was generous enough to include me in a visit by our regional leadership team. I had mixed emotions about heading so far away from home to a truly foreign location on my own. Well, on my own with 50 other work colleagues. I was scared, excited, skeptical, optimistic, and curious. When I left, my fears were calmed, and my skepticism reduced. Overall, it was a very positive experience and I am so grateful I was able to go.
Let me begin by expressing my sincere thanks to my new and old Indian friends and colleagues for sharing their country and culture with me.🙏 It was an enlightening trip. Everyone I met was so eager to learn, work together, eager to share their ideas, and wonderfully receptive to my input. Most importantly, they were all excited and proud to share their culture and country with us.
Before I left, someone told me India was like the 1800’s meets the new millennium, and that was certainly a good summary. India is a country of contradiction and extremes. There are high tech high rises, surrounded by rickshaws. There are wonderfully preserved and beautiful pieces of history, surrounded by chaos. There is incredible wealth, surrounded by extreme poverty. There is incredible hospitality, and yet danger for travelers and women in certain areas. There is a rainbow of vibrant colors, next to dirty piles of rubbish. All this flows from one side of the spectrum to the next without structure or reason. The sheer volume of people, traffic and sights are overwhelming. Motion is constant. Noise is constant. There is always something to see, both pleasant and unpleasant. It is chaos, and yet there are moments of peace.
My own emotional journey on this trip had similar extremes and contradictions. I felt so fortunate to be able to return to a peaceful and beautiful hotel which sheltered us from the activity of the city, and yet I felt somewhat guilty for turning a blind eye to the poverty just outside the gates. I was welcomed with enormous amounts of delicious food, really an impossible amount to eat, which I joyfully enjoyed knowing full well that, sadly, I would pass several people on the way back to the hotel who live in hunger every day.
I suppose I consider myself lucky to live a less extreme life than that which I saw in India. My choices are easier. My challenges fewer. While every place has positives and negatives, some places are just more transparent about their faults. India is totally transparent, and this makes the positives that much more vibrant.
While unrelated to my “Neighborly Life,” in the next few posts, I’ll share my journey with you, and some tips I picked up should you decide to visit yourself. I may even share a recipe or two… please enjoy. Namaste.🙏