It’s only been 4 days since I’ve arrived in India, and it is mind-blowing how much I have already experienced. From the whirlwind of tastes and smells, and from physical and emotional senses, I have been overloaded with new experiences.
New textures and methods of eating have introduced me to a whole new style of food. I have never tasted such a diverse array of tastes in a single cuisine and never imagined that eating with my hands could be so satisfying.
I have been constantly intrigued by the contrast in architecture (seeing crumbling buildings alongside large ones made of steel and glass), and the method by which we traveled past them. Riding in a rickshaw is a unique experience that was simultaneously frightening and fascinating. On many occasions, I felt sure that we were about to crash, when the rickshaw driver would use incredible reflex at the last second to avoid the collision. It was quite an impressive skill necessary to navigate the busy roads of Bangalore.
However, in everything that stood out to me, the most striking were the gestures used for communication between people. I learned a new gesture yesterday. While walking through shops and restaurants, some people who greeted me nodded and gently touched their chests. From the body language, I could tell that it was a kind, respectful gesture, but wasn’t sure of its exact meaning. I asked Julian and was informed that they were touching their hearts as a sign of respect and appreciation. This was a beautiful gesture that I wanted to share in return. So, when leaving restaurants, I used the gesture and felt a better connection with people, while also feeling content with myself for displaying the respect I have for them. This simple, mutual sharing of respect through gestures is a culture that I appreciate and think should be incorporated more in the U.S.
I was unable to capture an exchange of respect between two people, so I am using a picture I took from the Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple instead because there was so much respect shared within the temple.