A writer's journal and photography blog documenting 900km of hiking End-to-End on the Bruce Trail from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Tobermory, Canada
Saturday December 10 2011
There’s something about sitting by a pool with a beer in the hot sun that can make you reflective.
This time here in India, my first ever visit, was not a deep and unprotected exploration of what it is to be Indian. I came here in a privileged position. A car, a swank hotel, a management position in a successful firm, leading a team of intelligent, educated and ambitious Indian citizens from a privileged middle class society. But there were signs of the other India all around me. Women hauling cement and construction waste in bags on their heads while their children played in the dirt by the road. Others, mere children, walking out into evening rush hour traffic to tap on my car window, begging me to roll it down and give them a few rupees for the cheap plastic pink toy they held in their hands.
I’m not immune to the aching hunger of those who have little here.
Nor would I presume to accuse India for not doing enough. The population is staggering, and this is a young nation with a daunting tradition of oppressive beliefs and political baggage. You don’t change that overnight. But India is in the ascendant. Its youth are talented. And very ambitious. They can’t wait to get ahead. They are also kind, fierce about fair treatment, and compassionate. Prosperity, growing world economic strength, and a commitment to democratic principles will spur India on to 21st century glory. Empathy, social responsibility, and a commitment to universal education will ensure the whole population grows prosperous with it.
My bags are almost packed. I’m looking forward to home, and family. But I leave behind an exciting, intriguing new friend. And I can’t wait to visit her again.