Final thoughts on India… rural India

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Looking at these pictures give me a happy, yet sad feeling of leaving all these wonderful people. I am often consumed by what I am doing, and I always assume that everyone around me has to understand. For this trip I let that go a little bit and i promised myself i would be more of a sponge and let my mind absorb as much as it could. It turns out that everything i learned was beautiful. There was no hidden agenda behind the simple fact that we are guests and they wanted to see us happy.

The women helped us get dressed in our saris (even though they were too dressy for the occasion), the cops welcomed us, strangers welcomed us and most importantly, my team welcomed me like no other group project I’ve ever done in my life! What was interesting to me was the fact that instead of looking at us as people with no culture, they asked questions and they highly admired all our answers.

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I am certainly not used to hearing how cool the American culture is, or how people wish they could do it our way, but something tells me no matter who comes across rural India, they too will be welcomed with nothing but kindness. I keep mentioning rural India, because in a lot of ways I believe that area is very different than urban India (like Delhi or Agra). The fact that Delhi is more developed also means ” the western ways” has infiltrated the cities and it doesn’t quite feel as different than our culture in those areas.I saw people dressed like us, they even used the same slang as us – which is why Hubbali was so shocking and eye-opening.

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People were generally thankful that we were willing to sit down and teach them all while being awed by the fact that they barely ever saw white brothers and sisters around. They also were always willing to stop anything for a selfie, a random picture or just plain old great conversation. In a sense, I feel as if we have lost that notion of kindness here and timeliness is more important than just simply making sure someone is okay. Not once did i ever somebody mention money in our business classes; the question always was, ” but how are you helping people”? And it was very refreshing. Many ideas were thrown into our brainstorms and many positive outlooks came from not just always talking profits.

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After this trip I feel extra blessed to be in a country like the USA, where we have toilets with water some Indians would be happy to drink from, where our money that we spend on make-up can pay for somebody’s meal twice every day for a year in India. To put it simply I am very lucky and blessed and I would like to take this opportunity to rethink some of my decisions in life for 2017. Being a minimalist might be a great idea, but I also want to work on how to actually help that make a difference somewhere. We are consumed by corporate America and we forget sometimes that all it takes is a very wonderful business plan to take care of two problems (Like Air BnB, TOMS,Ben & Jerry’s, etc…).

 

Meeting the owner and founder of seven beans was the most impactful speech simply because of all the times he’s been defeated. He taught me a lot by talking about ways he’s fallen. he also taught me a lot by just always mentioning helping and talking to us about where he borrowed ideas from.

My “akkas”, “tangis”, “tammas”,

I don’t remember ever being taught this way; “everyone who is not you is still your brother or sister”. Of course it was refreshing to walk around and be called a sister by many people who just simply realize what kind of love it takes to make humanity just a little bit better, but it also reminded me of the fact that love is easily taught. Love is also a choice – and the Indians, they definitely reminded me of that everyday.¬† With every request, or every time that things were not going perfectly well, they didn’t get annoyed or roll their eyes like we see here in many cases; they were readily available to fix whatever the problem was.

They made sure to always let me know that “guests are gods”, so “no thank you/ no sorry” allowed.

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It did not take much time for us to be invited to eat at people’s homes,and we were full every time. People would stop their days to make sure we got to visit the temple that we wanted to see, to take pictures of the little piggies outside, the goats, the shopping and pretty much anything else that we felt the need to do. I met phenomenal people who were selfless and chose to give up their egos and even religious choices just to make sure our day isn’t bothered. I am so used to people making sure EVERYONE knows that they might be different or difficult in many ways. I caught myself being ignorant to small things many times and Indians were still not enticed to point out my mistakes. I ate non-vegetarian food next to vegetarians and caused offenses that I would consider large, but they still chose to educate me and enlighten me on everything. Sometimes, they would even try new things with me, such as mixing ketchup with mayonnaise to dip fries in it !

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With as many religions as they have, nobody ever tried to convince me to love their ways, or their religion. I even had people who wouldn’t eat at all join me and never mention it once. There were people who skipped prayers and people who chose to not eat at all just so they could stay around us and make sure our days were great! I only found out about all these sacrifices they made AFTER leaving Hubbali, which made me admire them so much more for not seeking attention or praise for this even though they all deserved it! If that’s what the gods feel like everyday, they’re extremely lucky and hopefully they will be rewarding the beautiful people of Hubbali in many ways!

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Even children constantly hugged us, said hello, called us brothers and sisters and always made sure to leave us with a smile on our faces. Somebody didn’t have a car? No problem, they’d borrow a scooter, they found a friend who drives, or they’d finagle our way to the destination somehow. I wrote this blogpost, because Indians had plenty of opportunity and choices to go about their days the way they normally do, but what made the trip was them actually trying and actually being excited to have us with them. You can tell they’re not the type of people to wait for death to tell you they love you. Every day and every moment in India, I felt LOVED. I felt appreciated and I felt like people were actually curious enough to want to get to know the real me,

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It was a beautiful experience every single day. I never felt pressured to act like somebody i am not even though they¬† had plenty of chances to have the last say, or make me feel uncomfortable. “Dhanyavad” – I had to learn to say thank you even though it made them mad at me, but I wish I could say it a million more times ! These people impacted me a whole lot more than others who’ve been in my life for many more years !! I cannot wait to return and visit them.

Become A Better Person Is The Motto

India has been AMAZING, but not for the typical reasons you would say; beaches, tourism and crazy “first world” activities. I almost feel like it’s taken me back to my “appreciation phase”. In a lot of ways, I feel like I lost a sense of feeling alive in the USA. Every hour of every day is accounted for, and it’s always for reasons that do not necessarily improve humanity or better the world’s conditions. I wake up, I go to school until five, then I clock into work and I won’t be out until 11pm or even later. We talk a lot about profit, about ambition, staying busy, moving up, “going hard”, but here we are in a beautiful city that’s always worried about setting up business plans in a way to help first, rather than boast profits.

Reality check: $1 can get about 65 rupees – this means for every dollar I’ve simply lost in the streets and not cared about could have fed two kids here for two days. Talk about living under a rock. This makes me wonder if I make good choices with the money I spend. Is it worth spending my hard earned waitress money on the stuff I choose to spend on a daily basis? You spend a dollar here a dollar there and we do not even realize how beneficial that could be to someone else around the world. We live in a different world. I am glad I got to be on this trip and witness that.

So… I wanted to do something about this and not just know knowledge, so I called my mom and we decided we will no longer be donating money to the three foundations we donate to every year. my yearly $1000 donation will now be going directly to India in form of school supplies, clothes and anything else that could bring smiles to their faces. Something as simple as dry tape white-out amazed them. I just need to do some rethinking. Happy I got the opportunity to come here and check myself.