Sunday, October 19, 2008

Culture Shock

I’m sitting in a clean room with clean hair and air conditioning. My stomach is full of food and I have a bathroom within walking distance. It has clean running water. The room smells like perfume.

            It’s strange that I can have this. It’s strange that out of the thousands of people I saw in India, only the Brahmans might have a chance to live like this. The wealthy live in disgusting luxury that mockingly encroaches up against the poor. All the rest live in a poverty that is indescribable, a poverty that doesn’t exist in the U.S.

            My bus had just ushered me to my secluded boat, away from a city that was a swarm of people that didn’t have enough room to live. And now sitting in a quiet room away from any humans felt wrong. I felt like I was floating somewhere between my “real” life and the images I had just escaped. The images were of the trash and filth overflowing the alleys and streets of Agra and Varanassi, cities that couldn’t handle the amount of people that they held.

             The people were polar opposites of those I saw in Africa. The people in the townships of Cape Town were beyond happy. The children played in the streets and the houses were painted pink and blue. But on the streets of India, smiling is not a part of daily life. There is no form of trash removal or sewage regulation. Children, mothers and men begged ferociously and clung to our arms as we walked into mosques or down stone streets. It was overwhelming and dirty, intense and beautiful, and a place that will flash in front of my eyes when I “pass out.”

This sure isn’t jersey because… the president is a woman.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Jackie. That is some powerful writing. Your posts, especially this one, have a very unique combination of edge and sensitivity. Please keep writing.

Anonymous said...

So glad you were able to catch up. The most recent blogs on India are fascinating, lively and very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing and keep weiting. NN