Last week, I spent the week in the villages of India, in one of the poorest parts of the world, in fact. There's much to write about, but I need a little time to process I think. It was a fantastic week, but lord did I get tired of the cows everywhere!
Yesterday, I arrived in Delhi. Where there are thankfully fewer cows, and unfortunately infinitely more cars.
There is also a subway slowly being expanded, so perhaps next time I come to Delhi, I'll be able to ride it! And the auto-rickshaws proudly bear the label "CNG Fuel."
This has been an eye-opening trip. So much of India has changed in the past five years since I came last. Fancy, clean, air-conditioned stores have been erected all over the cities. Cell phones are ubiquitous in the cities and even the villages. Organic cotton baby clothes are sold in the department stores, and organic rice and tea are sold in stores catering to a more health-conscious public. Soda bottles, which used to be refillable glass bottles, are moving to plastic. And the washing machine, which I never really thought would take off in India due to cheap washer women, is now everywhere. (No dryers though. People still line-dry their clothes.)
India is poised to make many of the mistakes we in the first world have made. But it's not inevitable. Even now, Indians still tend to be more conservationist than most Westerners. Frequent power outages make Indians more concerned about electricity. Lights are shut when you leave the room, as are fans. Out of habit, most of my Indian relatives stick with the bucket baths instead of the showers. My cousin exclaimed, "I can't get used to these tissues they have at the office. I prefer my handkerchief."
All this could change easily. But if Indians are careful, they might be able to learn from our mistakes. They might be able to keep their cell phones and their handkerchiefs too.
3 weeks ago