It has been more than an year now, since I’m travelling India – exploring its horizons and stretching through its boundaries – from days on end. And during the stint I’ve come across, this repeated question, a predicament rather, that why am I busy travelling my own country, when there is so much to see in the world. “What is the reason behind this abiding fascination,” someone once asked.
I give people different reasons – that start right from the obvious mentions of its cultural diversity to the warmth of the people. When you’re in India, not only you feel more alive, thanks to the country’s colourful ambience, but you also lean a lot – about yourself, and about the world around you. Not to mention all the ways it familiarises you with the many imperative spiritual truths.
Here, some of the most important life lessons this country has taught me:
People Are Not Bad, After All
Before I started travelling, and during the days of my bustling life in New Delhi, I often heard people saying that India is turning evil every day. But since I’ve started travelling, I’ve come across so many random act of kindness that have let a glowing footprint in my memory. Beautiful sceneries faded, photos got lost, but I’ve never forgotten the relief brought by many strangers who have helped me through my travels – whether it was a small account of feeding me on a long train ride when I did not pack my lunch, or walking me to the destinations when I did not know the way.
Sure there are exceptions, and bad people can be found anywhere – but if you put yourself in a vulnerable position and seek help, you’d be amazed to see unusual, powerful accounts of overloaded kindness. I think when you travel, you open yourself up in a new way, and give people the opportunity to help you – which you otherwise don’t in the day to day life in a city.
“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions” Peter Hoeg
Though India, throughout the recent years, has gone notoriously famous for ripping people off, particularly when it comes to dealing with people from abroad. But it’s the same people who can also be found helping others, if the need be. After all, there is no good or bad, but circumstances make them so.
Money Does Not Buy Happiness
Every time I find a quick escape from the consumer oriented materialistic neighbourhoods in New Delhi, and lose myself in the simplified beauty of a small Indian town, I realise a simple fact that ‘winning the lottery isn’t a ticket to true happiness, however enticing it might seem’.
Life in small towns in India is streamlined to the very basic necessities, yet everyone seem content. Unlike in cities, kids in small towns do not have a Disneyland Playground, with a fancy curved metal slide that vomits out excited preschoolers every 20 seconds. All they have is a place where the sky seems to swallow them whole every time they step out the front door – and their smile is a thousand times more powerful.
“There are people who have money, and there are people who are rich” Coco Chanel
India teaches us about sharing our things for a greater good, and seeing the universe as nothing but our own family. There are more than a few dozen personal accounts when I was invited by families to spend a few nights at their home, without expecting anything in return – and that is the beauty of this country. When we learn to share and let go of the need to control – we experience a brighter change, in our life, and in the lives of those around us.
Everything Eventually Falls Into Place
If there is one thing that India has constantly reminded me, it is – there’s always a happy ending. And if you’re no happy, it is perhaps not the ending.
When you’re travelling in India, there is no escaping from an amalgamation of bad experiences. Crowds, chaos, delays, unhygienic conditions, illness, bewilderment, and confusion – all play their part. But what they teach you, is that everything works out, in the end. Moreover, the deviations from your plans, which these unfavourable conditions somehow bring, turn out to be far better than anything you could have planned. Letting things happen, instead of trying to control them, is sometimes the best way to move ahead in your life. Don’t worry if you’ve missed your bus or have gotten into a wrong one (which happens quite often in this godly country), because you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side of the road.
“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey” Babs Hoffman
There’re times when I ended up derailing from my plans, but it is only then when I happened to meet some of the most beautiful people in my life. So don’t let the momentary angst take a toll over you, rather see it as an opportunity towards a greater good.
[Also Read: 7 Things I Would Tell A New Traveller]
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