18 Nov 2008

to India - finally!

after many years of wondering, i finally visited India last week. i have read about her, prayed for her, seen pictures, known people...but still, it was just too much to take in - and that when I was only there for three days and basically shuttled between hotel and conference centre.
the ride from the airport to the hotel took nearly two hours - it was 30km - a glimpse of the amount of human and automotive traffic that crowds the roads and streets.
the session i spoke at went uncomfortably. somehow i was not my usual extroverted self. i almost felt like apologising even though i had absolutely no doubt about the content of what i was sharing. i wanted to apologise for my abundance in contrast to what they had and will have for a long time to come. i was incensed to read about the factions and violence, and to see the pain of poverty in so many faces - drained of life and creative possibilities. in a land with only 50% literacy, i told my daughter, it is well nigh possible that the poorest are constantly misled and abused as they would not know better. i cried.
i am crying even now.

the airport we arrived in was new and it was small and simpler version of the early days of Singapore's Changi. the roads leading out were nice two-laned paved roads. i cannot help but wonder how much politilca will it needs to extend this same technology, funds and effort as those same roads radiate into a city that had no lane markings, very few street signs and a general lack of planning it appears. the city i was in was mild with small slums clustered right along the main roads. how can anyone with any power fail to do something to house, educate, feed, grow these lives? it completely baffles me.

i sat next to two Telegu women as i flew in and out of India. the both of them are married - arranged - and something struck me about them. they made no plans for their lives. it was something that happened to them: from where they live, to when they board the plane, to what's next.
Not us slick city ladies huh? we are so despearte to own and rule our lives.

i am going back to India - perhaps doors will open to essential change. i am going back - to open the doors of my own heart, to learn to let Life wash over me and lead me a little more.

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