There are so many things I can write about during my first two day here! It has been incredibly over-stimulating for all five senses: seeing the streets of India and comparing them to other places I have visited, listening to the sound of the call to prayer (this is really cool and something I have never experienced before!!), smelling the spices and the aromas of foods that fill the air, and tasting the delicious Indian food. But being exposed to the Indian human experience, even for this short while, has been by far the most memorable experience.
Yesterday while at breakfast, we all talked about what our personal experience had been so far and what we were feeling about India at this point. Professor Kristen mentioned something along the lines of “they do what we do, but a bit differently.” I thought about this for some time, and it dawned on me that the human experience of being Indian seems to be far different than any other human experience I have witnessed.
In America, we have become very egocentric to the point of losing what it means to work together as a community, and one people. Here in India, I feel that they are able to maintain this thus far. The hospitality is tremendous. Dr. Mary, who is the head of the social work department at Rajagiri College, explained to us that no matter how poor you are, it is Indian custom to attend to the needs your guests, even if you have nothing to give. This is very different in America. Some of us don't even like hosting our own family for the holidays.
I also see Indian's interacting very differently with one another. There seems to be a unique bond between them, as if they actually "matter" to one another. If you think about it, when is the last time you felt your presence mattered to another individual who was not expecting you to be there? Think about when you walk into a classroom or workplace. Do people go out of their way to greet you, or let you know in some way that your presence is noticed and appreciated? I'm sure in some instances this is true, but in many others, I know it is not.
I have to continue to watch the human interaction here in India, and I look forward to exploring this a bit more. But for now, all I can say is that it is different, special, and unique from what I have come to know at home.