Last night, we booked our tickets for our trip to India! I am excited but also nervous. It was just a tough trip last year and I am praying this year is better. Last year, the main issues were how Kavi handled the time difference and that he kept getting diarrhea(we figured it was from the milk, so we had him on soy milk for the rest of the trip). There were some other issues too but I don't want to dwell on them. India's time is 10.5 hours ahead of EST right now(but when daylight savings time starts March 13th, they will be 9.5 hours ahead of EST). So nights and days are opposite! The first couple days of the trip there are zombie-like from getting adjusted. So even though the trip is about 5 weeks from now, I am already praying it goes well. :)
We head to the Mumbai(used to be called Bombay) area of India. I am not sure if people remember the terrorist attacks there in Nov 2008. I know it was covered on CNN and other news channels, right around Thanksgiving that year. It was horrible. The targets of the attacks being the city's nicest hotels, a cinema, a cafe where westerners frequented, the main train station where families were getting ready for their trips, and several other targets.
I don't usually feel unsafe when there though, because we don't stay in the busy city area of Mumbai. My in-laws live an hour away in a newer area, which seems very peaceful compared to the hustle and bustle of the city. I know that we don't only have our own prayers of safety but the prayers of my family and friends too. I have already been there twice since the 2008 attacks, so it's not a new that thing we are doing. The first time I went to India in 2003, it was to New Delhi, India's capital. That was the most fun trip of all the trips. My post is not meant to make our trip sound so scary, but it's just the reality of India. I hesitate posting it because I find that some people have an idealistic view of India in their minds.
After being there, it's even more different than I ever imagined it'd be and the social structure is very very different than here. To accept India and love it, as an outsider, I have to look past what I find to be continued discrimination against their own fellow man, parents having a strong hold over their adult children to guilt them into decisions, a caste system that is still used (even if it's denied that it is), a dowry system(which is also supposed to not happen), and a lot of social pressure. I have experienced some of the issues first hand now, marrying an Indian whose family never expected him to marry an American. And other issues within the family, which I won't share for their privacy. These kinds of decisions can cause huge problems within a family and in their local community. And I am seeing it happen myself. And I can't understand it, since it's very different than the way I grew up.
On the other hand, the beauty can be found in the simple things like how passionate people are for what makes them unique, their food which is now my favorite kind in the world, creating beautiful textiles, valuing respect, a strong work ethic, and the humble spirit found in the downtrodden. I just wish I could snap my fingers and make everything better though. I know I should look at my own country first and what needs to be fixed here, and not point fingers. But the differences between here and there are so striking at times, not just money-wise but socially. It's hard not to notice.