Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's The People


Today I decided to take another one of "muse walks" and just see what's going on in my neighborhood. I grabbed my camera and decided to walk the "100 foot, CMH loop"--a favorite walking path of the expat walkers (thank you, Todd) which takes you on a nice one-hour walk--approximately 3 miles--around some of the neighborhoods in central Banglore--Indira Nagar, Cambridge Layout, and Ulsoor. On the route you will see everything from cows to coconuts; smell everything from freshly steamed sweet corn to auto rickshaw exhaust; hear everything from fluted Indian music to noisy car horns; an assault on the senses but an amazing experience nonetheless.

After living in India now for over 10 months I must say that my favorite part of this experience has got to be the Indian people. Being a blonde caucasian I stand out easily which still seems to fascinate people--it's like they're not sure who or what I am. They often stare, which at first bothered me. I thought they must think I am a threat to them or that I was trouble, but then I figured out what to do--I smile. When they see me smile I see their faces soften, their eyes glimmer, and their brilliant white teeth peek out of their mouths as a gentle smile comes to their face. It's wonderful!

Everywhere I go I continue to meet amazing people--warm, sincere, polite, and oh so friendly--and when they see my camera they know that I am just as interested in them as they are in me. Kids will come running to me yelling "Hi!" and "Me! Me!", waiting for me to take their picture as they stand and pose, showing me their best angle. Most of the time I don't need to say much... in fact, today I didn't speak a word to any of the people in my pictures--I didn't need to... just that simple smile, hand wave, or a quick salam (done by touching your forehead and bringing your hand down) is all that's needed to communicate in a universal language.

I have only 53 days left in India--and what an adventure it has been. I've still got a couple of trips left--one to Nepal & Katmandu in two weeks (some fresh air in the Himalayas!), as well as a week-long trip to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia with some of the expats--but then I pack up for home at the end of October. So I will continue to soak-in the experiences during my last two months... each experience, each person, each memory another page in my book as my world gets bigger and bigger.

I am so grateful for this experience.

Namaste.

5 comments:

Mike and Mike said...

Hey Mike,

Mike A. here. Love the Ganesh vendor. We hope on our return trip we'll be able to experience the India you did instead of the 3 day whirlwind we had.

I can say, my half Chinese mix also garnered stares. Although not nearly as much as you or Mike B. You have to keep reminding yourself that many of these people have never been out of their country, much less their city.

Mike A.

Davin said...

Michael-
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the pictures from the neighborhood. They brought back many memories from my trip(s) there. I look forward to seeing you when you get back to MN.

Take care and enjoy the rest of your time in India.

Davin

Vijay said...

Just chanced upon your blog... being a Bangalorean, it really warms my heart to see your observations.

Glad you are enjoying your stay and hope you come back to visit...

Anonymous said...

sensei (Bob Manning) has instructed our class to read your blog and leave comments, actually his exact words were 'choose article. post a comment / thank you'. which i suppose means that i get to inform you that i enjoy how you word things, the pictures are absolutely beautiful, and overall your description of your adventures seem pretty intense, and whether or not you actually hoped the reader(s) would some day venture out to india or where-ever else - you have completely talked me into it. yes, me, the shy little child who doesn't even want to leave her house.

there is my comment, and my thank you is here:
thank you for sharing your journey with my class and whatnot, i approve.

ps, on the 'sensei' remark: yes, i was watching ppgz while eating my bowl of cereal this morning.

Anonymous said...

I think it's cool that you got to experience traveling to different areas of India. And then you can put it in you perspective about the experience. I thought all of the pictures were unique and something that i have never really seen, besides this.
Also thank you for coming and talking to our class about your trip and taking time out of your day.

Thank you