My Impressions of India
by Lynnie – Kananiokeanuenue – July 2007

On our last evening in India, in the last hour of our bus tour of hundreds of miles , as the sun was setting in the sky and upon our long journey, Roselle commanded us to take out a piece of paper and write. Roselle asked us “what did you observe, what did you learn and what were your impressions?” The following is my stream of consciousness, scribbled on scratch paper, as the daylight faded.

I saw poverty, the well-to-do and all those in between.  Streets and grounds full of garbage.  Unpleasant smells, basic living conditions, throngs of temple worshippers, beggars, cows and goats, ornate designs, agrarian countryside, a poor country school, a private city school,  the Sea of Bengal, people trying to make a living in shops, on the land,  and in the streets.  Skilled and chaotic driving in cars, 3 wheel cabs, motor scooters, trucks , busses, carts pulled by cattle, lots of food vendors, great Indian cooking, tasty spices, effigies on unfinished buildings, flowers, trees, (no snakes!), funeral processions and beautiful faces.

I observed a strong sense of family and tradition.  All the women dressed traditionally-no Western influence.  The people find many ways to celebrate—lots of festivals and dance performances.  They seem to see the good and are accepting of their lot.  People work very hard physically, and therefore are in good condition physically—except for teenagers that look much younger because of poor nutrition—those with less food may not do as well…

I learned about Indian Gods (although there is confusion with all the names a attributes)  Indians seem to honor the same elements as Hawaiians, and have tremendous respect for their religions.  I learned a few words: vanakam—welcome,  nandhri (sp)—thankyou, aleyley—go away.  I saw how Koloms are made and tried the skill—it takes a skilled hand.

My impression is that the Indian people have a pleasant nature and seem honest (of course there are bad eggs, but we didn’t encounter any—only the smell of bad eggs).

They greatly value education and skills.  These things are a way to rise above even their birth circumstance  of class. At first I wondered how they can stand the dirt and overcrowding.  Perhaps they accept what they cannot change with the belief of a better life to come.  So maybe their religions help them to exist.  Perhaps this is how it has been for hundreds of years.  They want nuclear capability  (for energy or defense?) but that alone will not help the average person.  I come away with amazement that the churning, burning rhythm  of India is  an unending array of sights, sounds, smells, colors, and pulsing life.

Where will we go next?