I wish I could really explain everything I experienced in India, or at least, explain it in a way that really means something to my friends at home. I’ve noticed the longer I’m away from India, the more it seems to affect me. The things I felt and saw while I was there are finally starting to sink in and affect me in ways I didn’t think possible.
Last night I went to a movie and when I walked out, the warm, humid air smelled like India to me, and I just wanted to stand there and soak it all in.
It’s been frustrating trying to relate what happened to me to people at home. They don’t seem all that interested in what I experienced and the ways it affected me. They want to know what the weather was like, what I bought (and why I didn’t buy more jewelry and clothing), and if I rode an elephant.
I tell them that the weather was humid. You stand outside for about two minutes and you’re already dripping sweat. I tell them I bought a gorgeous tapestry that probably took hours to make, they’re disappointed. I told them I didn’t ride an elephant, and again, they’re disappointed.
Maybe my trip to India wasn’t one of shopping sprees and buying all the cheap stuff I could manage to stuff in my suitcase. Maybe it wasn’t a fairytale vacation filled with magic carpets and elephants. But it meant more than any of that ever will.
I had a chance to experience the real India, to go into the villages and see the conditions that humans are capable of living in. I made friends in a country far different from my own and know they’ll be there for me, even though we only had two weeks together. I ate foods I normally wouldn’t try. I pushed my limits and discovered new heights. And to me, that is far more rewarding than any cool trinket I could have brought back.
But from talking with my dad yesterday, he helped me realize something. He said that people here are no different than the Indian man selling kabobs on the street. Everyone is interested in what is happening to them in their world at that time.
Unless people want to care, they won’t. So for now, I’ll only tell my stories to the ones who are really interested.