Beautiful but hard
Before arriving in India, I received a multitude of different responses and reactions, tips and tricks, offerings of people to be put in touch with, and advice. It felt like everyone had something to say, as well as something new to add. All were totally welcome, and every conversation made me that much more excited to experience it for myself. But I also worked to keep as much bias as I could out of my expectations for what these next ten weeks here and the experiences I am bound to have, would look like. However, despite this general mindset, one thing that someone told me along the way, which has stuck with me, is “India is at the same time, one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, and one of the hardest.”
Though it has only been about 4 days here in Bangalore, I have already noticed some of the ways in which this has arisen for me. Despite the dirty streets, scratchy throat and some hazy hot afternoons, there is so much greenery everywhere, so many new plants to discover and large beautiful trees providing bits of shade. And there are so many new food to be tried and shared, all of which have been so uniquely delicious. Additionally, there is a bounty of colors that are so vibrant and beautiful and seemingly never-ending which fill the streets in so many different ways.
The city is also constantly bustling. The crowded spaces and lack of personal space are equally exciting and welcoming as they are new and uncomfortable. Someone likened the traffic here to a flowing river, and I totally agree. There’s a rhythm to it, a pattern, it doesn’t mind being disrupted because it will just keep moving. It is at the same time almost elegant and nimble, as well as terrifying and loud, and if we so choose to cross we are at most a small blip in its course.
And, as always, with bustle comes noise. Although not a huge fan of all the honking or the loud crows and dogs at sunrise each day, beautiful musical chanting coming from nearby and birds chirping in the cool mornings are so incredibly peaceful. As expected with traveling for me, being in a new place means losing some of the comforts I’m used to, the spaces to be alone, or time to be independent that I have at home. However, it has already been so inspiring to be around others in GCIL who want to learn and who care about getting the most out of this experience, and who are already pushing me to do better.
This is also true of everyone from Bangalore that I have had a chance to interact with thus far. It is interactions where I’ve been pushed to break out of a Seattle freeze mindset, and ask someone for help or advice that have been some of the most powerful and they have further made me think about who I am in this place and how I will be a part of this city both while I am here and in the future. We’ll see, I’m not sure what that will mean for me, nor how that little snippet of sage insight, oscillations between beautiful and hard, will be reflected in 10-12 weeks, when I leave this definitively unique and wonderful place, but I am stoked to find out.