I had a great time in India. As we travelled up north, I loved how the people, language & food changed. On the Indian train, we befriended some locals & they offered us food. People were friendly & warm. The multitude of different cultures which unites India makes it beautiful & unique. I loved the music & there was a rhythm to India.
Poverty was a novel & difficult experience which made me feel helpless. It was hard to see child beggars & groups of children picking up rubbish at the crack of dawn. It made me think of my grandparents & the reason they left India for Malaysia to seek a better future. I loved my grandparents & they always spoilt me even though they didn’t have a lot. I thought of my mother & how life was difficult for her. My life is a stark contrast to everything they had & I have grown up knowing this. I suppose, the extent of poverty never really registered in my life in such close proximity until I saw it in India. A mother came up to Subhen, asking him to buy her milk for her child. He went to the shop with her & was surprised to find that milk formula costs a lot of money. Although he put on a brave face, I know poverty affected him equally. Most of the time, I was handing out biscuits & sometimes money. I don’t know if what I did was right, but what stayed with me was their faces. I still remember them: that girl who boarded the bus asking for money.
I am usually an extremely paranoid person but I felt safe in India. Probably due to the fact that I had Subhen for company who sometimes joked that he was my body guard & occasional bag porter. I am grateful to have found an awesome travel companion. I could not have asked for better. I learnt about Indian culture history & Hinduism from him. He taught me how to hike by telling me to “trust my feet”. Encouraging me to go white-water rafting when I was having doubts. Making me eat when I really didn’t feel hungry because I was scared or exhausted. He was always there, keeping me grounded & taking perfect care of my well being. Such a friend is hard to come by & I remain grateful.
Awesome friendship in jeep to Leh singing Hindi songs.
Travelling India was a revelation: different facets of my personality I never knew existed surfaced. I learnt that I often underestimate my abilities, I love the thrill of bargaining, I enjoy hiking & that I am tough. I can deal with dirt as long as I have antibacterial wipes. I wear a hoodie in public transport because I don’t want to touch anything. I only sleep in my sleeping bag or cotton liner. I don’t use any pillows. I deal with uncertainty by laughing it off. Hiccups are part of the journey. I can be present & look for beauty in unexpected places. I’m great at packing & organized. I always have food, a head torch, chapstick, plasters & perfume with me.I am brave & real growth happened when I stepped out of my comfort zone. I am finally moving towards the things that I wanted to do, disregarding fear.
Heroine seeking adventure.
A random stranger I met before my trip said, “India beckons when you need it the most & it will be revelatory”. He was right.
India illuminated my life- gave me perspective about myself & the lives of others. I felt connected & curious about the culture. Since then, I have read a short book about the brief history of India & I am completely fascinated with Indian history, art & culture.
A far cry from learning repetitively about “Tamadun Islam” also known as Islamic Civilization & only 1 year to learn about world history. Don’t misinterpret, I do not mind learning about Islamic civilisation but we spent a disproportionate amount of time on it. Ah, I’m just pleased I’m free from mental torture, time to educate myself about the world.
Malaysian History Syllabus.
After travelling India, I felt ready to start the next phase of my adventure, to travel solo in Europe.