Sunday, September 7, 2008


It's hard for me to express all my thoughts about this country, my motherland, in words. Especially when I'm on a dial up connection! But I'll give it a shot.

This is a weird country, yo.

Heh. Do you like how I started off with such depth and insight?

I'm here in Bombay during the celebration of the elephant god, Ganesh. During this time, giant forms of Ganesh are erected, and then they are taken to the ocean to be immersed in water.

This year, my aunt tells me, the Ganeshes have gone eco-friendly. Because previously the Ganeshes weren't melting properly in the water and they were causing problems, so this year, the Ganeshes are all made from soil and paper.

And so the Ganeshes go eco-friendly while meanwhile the traffic has reached new heights of unbearableness.

As I was walking down the streets, I saw a shop advertising organic rice. Now normally this would be a woo-hoo moment with me, but this time, my first thought was, "I wonder how much that rice COSTS! And who buys it? And who can afford it?!"

Is organic rice yet another new and trendy luxury of India's wealthy? While meanwhile the cost of food is rising and more and more people are having trouble feeding their family?

I last came here five years ago. In that time, India has changed tremendously. Everyone, from the business man to the taxi driver, seems to have a cell phone. New fancy shopping malls, apartment complexes, and five star hotels have been erected. The dilapidated stalls on the street now sell sim cards and blue tooth headsets.

And yet too much seems unchanged. Too many children still sleep on the street. Too many women must beg for money to support their family. Too many people go hungry.

And I can't help wonder, "Is this the best we can do?" Is the twenty-first century a time where we accept the rising economic disparity between the haves and the have-nots with nonchalance because, well what can you do?

I don't know what to do. But what I do know is that nonchalance is unacceptable. Because when you stop caring, you stop trying to make things better.

And things must get better in India. Because too many people are being left behind.


Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post. I'm glad you are taking the time to post during your travels, because yours is one of my favorite blogs.

Green Bean said...

It is that non-chalance, isn't it, that just makes this type of change unacceptable. We need to care or we lose our ability to be human. Thanks for taking us along with you to India. Miss you!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have no insightful comment. I just wanted to say I too am glad you're blogging your trip and just wanted to say hi.

Anonymous said...

Interesting insight - reminding me of the recent trip I took to China.

Perhaps that's the process most developing countries go through.

Have a great time there!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Howdy ho! I hope you are otherwise enjoying your trip to India. Eco-friendly Ganeshes? Sweet!

One question I had regarding this seemingly huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor is: what kind of caste system still exists in India and what impact does this have on the poor and their ability to pull themselves out of poverty?

Are the poverty stricken people mostly descendents of those deemed "lower" or is the poverty truly across the board (in which case the problem and, hence, potential solutions would be different)?

As an aside, I watched Born Into Brothels last month and it was so horribly depressing. But it's something that people should see and know about.

Melissa said...

It is almost too big for words isn't it?

I wish everybody in this country could have the chance to travel to a place like India at some point - it really gives an invaluable perspective on the complexity of poverty.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful piece! In it's simplicity I visualized everything you wrote about. WOW!

Indi(a)screet said...

I am Sandra Bose from New Delhi and am luck enough to be alive as we just had 5 bombs terrorists attacks here in Delhi only 2 hours ago.
India is NO place to live, it's unorganized and uncivilized.
You did well moving to USA.

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