I watch this YouTube channel called Yes Theory where they preach about the kindness of strangers. They do wild adventures with people who they just met and who were brave enough to say 'yes' to their requests. So when one of my teammate asked if I wanted to travel north to Punjab for the weekend to attend his family friend’s wedding, I had to say yes even though I knew nothing about it.
The trip was a couple weeks into the program and before I know it, we were in an Uber going to the airport. There were so many amazing sights and interactions I experienced that weekend. But I am going to focus on one of the more memorable experiences.
The plan was to stay with my now close friend, Jaspreet’s family. I know only a couple of stories about his family in Punjab. His uncle once stopped a motorcycle in traffic because the guy cut him off in traffic. He got out of his car to smacked the guy on the back of his head. Another story was about his well respected grandpa who, apparently, would walk away mid-sentence from a boring conversation. It sounded like it was going to be a tough weekend to get through.
We had to drive three hours from Amritsar to his family’s village. We arrived after threading through tight turns after tight turns in narrow streets that barely fit the car. Jaspreet was immediately greeted by all ten plus members of his family with hugs and laughter. But on the other hand, they looked at me from top to bottom like what all other Indians do to foreigners. However, they were very friendly and asked me many questions about my background through Jaspreet since they didn’t speak English. Suddenly, I felt like some of my other Caucasian friends in the program because I was getting interest from others when I was usually in the background.
That wasn’t the only thing. We woke up from our naps to a plateful of noodle burgers in our king size bed. That moment made me feel like a king and I felt very guilty about having them do all these things for me because my thoughts were filled with my mom yelling about how I was being a horrible guest. All the skepticism I had from the stories in the beginning were eliminated by their kindness. They made me feel like I have another home thousands of miles away from Seattle.
There were many other experiences that I could not forget with this second family of mine. They showed me how to fly kites like all of the other local children, they let me hold their one year old baby and offered me a turban to wear for the wedding. All these wonderful experiences came from a simple yes I gave to Jaspreet. So next time, when you are suddenly in a position to say yes to an adventure, will you?