Culture Among Chaos
Updated: Jan 30
My anxiety increases with the loud honking of horns every time I’m in an uber or a rick shaw. Even after learning that honking your horn in India is just letting the other person know you are passing them, it still gives me the same feeling of dread that honking horns in Seattle would mean - that something bad almost happened. The thin sidewalks and drooping telephone lines next to busy streets also cause me stress. Sometimes a street light will be in the middle of the thin sidewalk, leaving no choice but to step into the street.
Through travelling around the city, however, I have noticed temples among these busy streets. The top of a temple may peek over a gate, with figures carved out of stone, or a large part of the temple will rise above the gate, painted bright gold and catching the eye from a block up the street. This show of culture and belief interspersed throughout the city infrastructure was not something I expected to experience, but it is something that I am glad I did. Talking about things that I thought of as more personal, such as beliefs, seems more common here, with different identifying factors such as clothing making it easy for like to identify like. The owner of a coffee shop even asked about my religion, then explained how her beliefs are different than my family’s. It makes me wonder if this outward display of personal beliefs, which I have always carefully separated between myself and my surroundings, even among close friends, makes it easier for people to be comfortable with diversity in beliefs or allow for discrimination.