Now that we have said goodbye to India and hello to Africa (our 5th continent - wow..), I have been reflecting a bit on our India experience. Usually as we depart a country we ask each other whether we would ever go back. In most cases it has been a fairly easy decision. I know I could move to Buenos Aires or Perth (or even Cape Town) tomorrow and be perfectly content I find that when I ask myself the same question about India the answer does not easily come.
Our brief glimpse into India showed us so many things. It is a country of amazing history that lives in its temples, forts, mosques and even its people. I had no idea that India is the birthplace of chess, of zero and pi as mathematical concepts (although I did know about the yoga thing). The food was fantastic. The spirituality that the people we encountered exhibit every day is something that I don't think I would ever be capable of. And how so many people can co-exist astounds me.
But there was also another side to India. The despair that we saw on the streets from the beggars (especially women with newborns or just little kids) that routinely approached us, to the point of knocking repeatedly on the car windows as we stopped at any light. The insane amount of garbage that sometimes seemed to be everywhere. The "homes" that we couldn't believe people actually resided in. The endless sound of honking horns. The crush of the masses as you would try to walk from one place to another.
There was such contrast to our experience each day. But there was also one constant that we could always count on to make the day a bit less imposing. I'm talking about the cows.
I knew before the trip that cows were considered sacred beings by the Hindu people. We saw that when we were in SE Asia. But in India the cows were everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. After a while you start to know what they are thinking...
" Hey kids - hands off the bike"
" A blond kid? You hear stories but you never think you will actually see one in person"
"We've got to get us one of those"
"Can't believe I get to eat his homework again?"
"How about a kiss lady/"
"Nice to be able to relax with some friends and catch some sun"
"Where the heck was my seat?"
"Who needs the guard dog when they have me"
So with that it's goodbye India. I don't know if I will see you again, but I am very, very glad that I got to see just a little bit. Now for some reason I seem to be craving steak for dinner. Gotta go!