It seems surreal to have already gone to and returned from India. I met with other members of my graduate cohort to tour and learn about different faith groups, and to think about religious pluralism.
Our week was packed with a visit to a mosque and a boys’ orphanage, an Islamic school for young men, a Jain temple, and a Sikh temple. We had a question-and-answer time with a yoga guru, and later a Hindu scholar. We traveled to one of the largest Tibetan settlements in Bylakuppe, India, and visited the Golden Temple. We also received a guided tour of the Mysore Palace. We attended a Christian church and finished the week by presenting our thesis proposals.
While out and about taking photos in India, my creativity was flowing. There was so much to see all around me. I captured many photographs that I really like.
Traveling in India is interesting. We mostly traveled by van. Painted lines on the road mean nothing. Honking is constant as drivers warn others of their presence. Rolling stops are more often the case than full stops. Drivers maneuver around vehicles and pedestrians with inches to spare.
One night, we walked back to our hotel from a restaurant. In walking like the locals, we walked through a roundabout in the middle of traffic and the vehicles parted around us. Later in the week, we rode in a Tuk Tuk to a mall for 80 rupees or $1.15. That was a fun, noisy and exciting ride.
I’m often mistaken as Indian, and I anticipated that I would either have many people come up to me and assume I speak their language or I would have the exact opposite response and people would notice differences in me and not do that. At the airport just before departure, a woman walked up to me and asked me a question in her own language. I simply smiled and said, “I speak English.” She said sorry and looked for someone else.
Leaving India, I followed two men in front of me to the shortest line at the airport security checkpoint. I began to grab a bin for my things when a security guard had asked me to move out of that line to what I thought was the next line. So I moved to the next security line, and he tapped my shoulder again pointing farther. I looked to where he wanted me to go. It took me a few seconds to realize that the line he was pointing toward was a women’s line and I was standing in a men’s line. I laughed at myself, apologized and moved over to the women’s line.
India is the most populous place I have ever visited. I’m thankful all that I was able to see and experience. The trip was so quick that I wish I could have spent more time exploring.