People in the States either love the idea of India or they hate it. Or maybe fear is the better word. When we told folks we were going there for three weeks, the response was typically a look that said, “Why in the world would you go there?” followed by the two words travelers probably hear the most: “Be careful.” Still, it’s not the kind of response I’m used to when I announce a big trip. Usually my friend or family member will act excited—or at least curious—and then make me promise to tell all about it when I return.

And some did. The country does have its fans, including Mark Twain, who said, “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”

But mostly I heard, “Ew. Don’t get sick.” Even the nurse at the Travel Immunization Center in Chicago said, “You’re going to India? Watch out. We’ve seen some nasty stuff come back from over there.”

“Really?” I asked. “Like what?”

“Oh, gut problems, parasites, malaria, that kind of thing,” she said and stuck me with a needle filled with Hepatitis A vaccine. “Just wash your hands often and don’t eat the street food.”

I nodded. “Have you been there?”

“India? Nooooo. Too many people.” She pulled off her rubber gloves, tossed them into the waste bin, and showed me to the door. “You’re all set. Have a good time!”

Right. The nearer our departure date, the more these cautionary reactions were starting to scare me. Why were we going to India? It certainly wasn’t on Chris’s bucket list. He’d heard stories about beggar children who attach to tourists’ arms and legs like suction cups and refuse to let go until you cave in and give them money or candy … or you peel them off.

“That’s not a situation I ever want to face,” he said when I suggested making the subcontinent our next adventure. It wasn’t a predicament I relished either, but surely there was more to this fascinating country filled with ancient history than abject poverty and desperation. What about the ninety-seven billionaires I’d read about in Forbes? And Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry? And the booming economy ripe with entrepreneurial spirit?

Whatever the case, one-seventh of the world’s population resides there, living in a way quite different from us, and I wanted to see what it was like. What was their take on the question that bugs me: What the heck are we all doing here on this planet anyway? 

I didn’t necessarily expect to find the meaning of life. But I was hoping to find a new perspective to add to the mix that I’d found on our travels around the world so far. Still, with all the negative feedback we’d received, Chris and I weren’t sure this was a trip we really wanted to take anymore. But, too late. Reservations had been made and deposits paid. The next day we’d be in Delhi.

16 thoughts on “India, Part I: You’re Going Where?

    1. Wow, Dave. Thank you! I’m honored. And congratulations to you too. I popped over to your site and read your answers to Wade’s questions. You have a delightful, entertaining philosophy, and I’d love to see it weaved into future posts. I really like your ideas about travel and the open mind. An Rx we need these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Monica. This whole blogging experience has kind of forced me to be a bit more public about things – normally I’m pretty quiet and prefer listening/reading to speaking. But it’s hard to tell a good story without injecting some self, so I’m trying to be open minded about it. Wade just forced the issue beyond anything I would normally expect to reveal. Time will tell how that evolves, this may end up being a growing experience.

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  1. I’m excited to hear about your trip, Monica! I have never considered traveling to India, but I would if the opportunity arose. I’m kind of a gypsy that way! I have a niece who lived in India for a short time, and she loved it. She still wears a “kurti” – I think that is what it’s called. She has several for every day wear. She told me it was funny that she was always tanning, trying to have darker skin, and the women there marveled at her very white skin – wishing they had her skin tone! She said people were very friendly and the architecture was amazing. I also have a nephew who spent six months working at an orphanage somewhere in India, but I can’t remember the name of the village. He loved it there also.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Lori! What an amazing opportunity for your niece and nephew. And I’m with your niece on India wear. Why don’t we have comfortable yet beautiful and feminine clothes like that to wear here? It’s like wearing your PJs without feeling frumpy!😊

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    1. Hi Becky. I bet living in Europe as a child has been fodder for some nice memories. I hope you get a chance to see India. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to provide one traveler’s limited perspective.
      Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, Moni! Saw all Your other posts before reaching this one on the reader. …Actually have ‘Bookmarked’ Your site. I think I might learn quite a few things about India from You, like, off hand, the ‘Maharaja Express!’ Haha.

    But I never got questions like: ‘What the heck are we all doing here on this planet anyway?’ !!!

    Regards. More later. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a privilege to have you as a reader. My tales are skewed by a limited perspective and experience. But I hope they will encourage others to explore the world, even at the risk of not understanding everything.😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank You, my Dear Monica! Though I would not use words like skewed, a limited perspective, etc.

        I wonder if these things are to be ‘understood.’

        I was a little upset that You, quite a Sensitive soul, should see the shocking sides of Our country. Hope and Pray all that did not upset YOU!

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