¿What is India?
A Volunteer´s vision
12 march 2018
India hits you like a gigantic hammer just by looking out of the Indira Ghandi airport terminal. The air is white. The profile of the city is hardly perceived. Not without problems (this is India), I get hold of a tiny taxi, which winds between the crazy and chaotic traffic like a racing car. We dodge cows and people crossing the eight lanes with the same indifference. And with the word "miracle" in my head, we reach V-20 street, unpaved and crossed by thousands of wires that hang between colorful but decrepit facades. "Basora House" says the sign; The volunteer house, where Ms. Geytri, a middle-aged woman who once had to be very pretty, opens the gate with a smile.
After a spicy and tasty breakfast that leads to my stomach as far as I thought it would not get, I decide to take a walk through the area to the Mall, which at the insistence of the woman, must have been a tourist attraction. I walk between houses that hold without knowing very well how. Curious looks for a whitish western with his cap wandering around the neighborhood is something that is not seen every day. And suddenly, without realizing it, I find myself among shacks built with old sheets tied with ropes, ragged boys playing in the reddish earth, and girls with multicolored kurtis who wash their clothes in a grayish pond... They all look at me, and they smile. I'm not afraid. Even that for ten minutes I have walked among more misery than I have seen in my whole life.
I leave the sea of veneers to the paved road and arrive at the mall, yes, after overcoming four security checks. All known brands, even the most expensive and exclusive, shine in shop windows. Another ten minutes walk, this time just to tour a plant of the opulent monster. And all this next to a luxurious golf course separated from the underworld by a narrow strip of fenced land, no man's land, like the space that separates two different planets. This is the reality of today's India: excessive abundance with multicolored kurtis that stand out among rusty plates, kurtis on the bodies of girls who wash clothes in dark water, but who look at me with a smile so warm that get me ashamed. That is the image that I recorded in my memory.
Two weeks later and after my volunteer work at an orphanage in Jaipur, I confirm what I began to suspect that March 12: India is a powerful imam, an amalgam of culture, tradition and religion with a pinch of abundance over an ocean of… of what? Of shortage? poverty? Perhaps misery?... But no; I can't use any of those terms, because the extraordinary thing about India is its people. People who live in conditions that any westerner would describe as "poverty" are simple, always friendly, welcoming, always with that close smile, always affectionate... maybe more human? It's amazing.
I would dare to affirm that here, somehow, they found the happiness that our idolized Western civilization is looking for, perhaps by wrong ways...
This is India.