“How is India?”
What “India” are you talking about?
India houses 1.2 billion people, hosts the largest election on earth, stretches from desert to jungle to snow covered mountains. India is a country of 28 states that speaks 200 languages and is responsible for an uncountable amount of gods and religions. I live on an international school in the state of Maharashtra, I have as much to do with Kashmir as a teenager from Tennessee.
In contrast to Denmark however, the food is spicy, the weather is odd, the people are short, the roads are
the worst thing on earth alright and the nature is beautiful. Being met by the cultural shock of showering with a cascade of animals ranging from venomous snakes, toads, beetles, frogs and dragonflies, you learn how to push your boundaries. The culture is distinctly different from anything even remotely Danish. In Copenhagen couture you do not talk to people you don’t know, you would never smile at a stranger and if you don’t give money to a beggar you’re a horrible person. India is reversed.
I enjoy the crazy life I live on a hilltop in the Western Ghats, yet it is somewhat distinctly different to everything I thought I knew about life.
In “The Road Less Traveled” Psychologist M. Scott Peck described life as being about drawing your map. Your victories and your mistakes was on your map and affected how you made decisions and where you went in life. I feel like my map’s never been this modified for every day that passes and if India is one thing, it’s a place where Westeners goes to “find themselves”. Although I dislike the stereotype, I feel like India is a place that forces you to reflect.
Because it is so surreally different from your home and what you know, you feel alone. To drag yourself out of the depression and loneliness, you will have to redefine who you are. Not necessarily to a point where you fit in, rather to a point where you appreciate the times you are and learn to be alone. You are a foreigner in their eyes, you will always be one, learn to accept it.
Every day in our life we’re taught not to be alone. We are pressured into becoming flock animals and to surrender to the community. At MUWCI you’re surrounded by an incredibly diverse group of students, yet these students never make you feel at home until you recreate your concept of what it is. When you learn how, the world becomes a better place for you. A place where you have room to be together with your friends and new family, but also a place where you have to be alone. In my culture we have given the term “alone” a negative connotation. We assign it negative attributes and expect that only the depressed, dysfunctional and socially awkward are alone. It is not until you find yourself being alone, that you learn who you really are.
India is not necessarily a spiritual place, although many associate the two, it’s not a particularly incredible place, there’s so many other amazing places on the globe. What India is, is different. You are forced to be critical towards yourself and how you live. You’re alone. And until you learn how to be alone, you won’t know how to be together.