When I first arrived in Delhi, all I could see was colors. Everything is vibrant: the signs, the people, the culture. I have fallen in love with this country. The more time I spend here, the happier I feel. The more car rides I have in the city, the more appreciation I have for the culture. The more children I talk with, I realize the importance of education. For many of these children, 12th grade may be their last year of formal education. However, they cherish every word you say and every exercise you hand back.
“When anyone asks what I will remember the most, I will say “the colors.” The colors of the people and culture which have completely changed my outlook on life.”
The colors of the culture
The largest culture difference between the US and India was driving. The culture of driving is unlike anything I have and will see in my whole life. A typical car ride for me is seen with a family of 5, all ranging in age weaving in and out of the traffic, disregarding traffic lanes. A car that would legally seat 8 people often times holds 14 passengers. The metro (set up like the NYC subway system) is as crowded as a sardine can. Furthermore, while all this chaos is going on, it is typical that I will see 20-30 cows in the middle of the interstate. Throughout my 3 weeks in India, I’ve found the traffic to be the most fascinating, scary and mind-blowing aspect about the culture.
The colors people of India
During our 3 week stay, we worked at an NGO (Vidya School). After pulling up to the school, which is surrounded by the slums of Gurgaon, India, I could only see walls of the school, resembling that of a sheet of paper: rather bland. However, once I entered the building and peered down, I could see the floors covered with intricate sand-art designs. I saw paintings and sculptures of everywhere in the school. Everything was filled with overpowering, vibrant colors. Furthermore, the people in the school were not ordinary. The Vidya School is an outlet to children coming from low income families. The average family’s income ranged between 10,000-15,000 rupees a month (about 150 USD). These children viewed school as an outlet; their education was a way to better their life and they craved to break the cycle of poverty. Many of the children, stressed the importance of learning English, understanding that it was going to set them up for higher education or a better job. English motivated them. It was a motivation that I had never seen before. For this reason, the children at the school glowed. They embodied everything. While you could see some of their shacks through the class room window, their smiles glistened.
India has opened my eyes to everything. I have seen the prosperity in thriving parts of Delhi. I have seen beggars come up to my car window, voluntarily wiping down a car with a washcloth and then asking for money. I have seen elephants walking down an interstate. This country is a place is unparalleled to anywhere else in the world. There is no words, no blog post and no pictures that can accurately represent my experience. However, when anyone asks what I will remember the most, I will say “the colors.” The colors of the people and culture which have completely changed my outlook on life.