General India Reflections thus far

Kurseong Travel Blog

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So I’ve been here for nearly 6weeks – not quite half way but getting close! It’s been a rollercoaster journey so far with all the ups and downs I’d expected (and a few more).
My thoughts on India are that it’s an incredible country with so many things to see and do and many interesting people, both those who live here and who’re just passing through. The placement itself is largely overshadowed by all the people I’ve met/got to know better and all the fun things to do. But the people here are nice, and I’m quite content to play the role of the younger one - even though it’s annoying at times it gives me space and an excuse to be my own person. Still finding it hard to find the balance between me time and kid time, but I’m sure that I’ll find it soon enough. For the time being I’m trying to dispel negative thoughts and not to worry.
I love the spontaneous and chaotic nature of all things India. Have to admit that I don’t have such a positive attitude when I’m tired and you can’t find a taxi, but no one’s perfect! Having said that, I do think India would be so much harder to understand if we didn’t have the insider knowledge that we do – but am sure that intuitive thinking is the key to everything and not having a strict timetable or plan (it’s never work!)
At times I do worry myself as I have negative and annoyed attitudes towards some of the people I’ve encountered and the situations I’ve been in – mainly because I can’t see the logic behind them, or I disagree with the attitude they’re based on. Certainly the way children and animals are treated and the immense amount of “brainwashing” that occurs are causes for deep feelings of anger and bewilderment. Having said that, I haven’t seen as much mugging or violent behavior amongst adults here as I do in the UK – but whether that’s due to my geographical location or some deeper sociological trend I don’t know. I’m fascinated to learn more about social care, crime and peoples perceptions of status (or just anything anthro/socio/psycho – logical) in India.
Kids don’t seem to complain much, and seem to just get on with things – but is this due to happiness and contentment or ultimate submission and acceptance that they have no control or choice in life?
Religion is also odd. I didn’t realize that Tibetan Buddhists have G-ds! And I would like to learn more about Hinduism. However, seeing so many religious people of all ages and the way it doesn’t appear to be questioned but more accepted as part of how life is (more cultural than explicitly religious or philosophical) I find myself turning further away from religion and to a far more skeptical stand point. Though I don’t doubt the useful and often vital role religion plays, I can’t see myself becoming a “believer” anytime soon. This leaves me feeling both empowered but also sad at the thought that I don’t have blind faith, though I’m not quite sure why this is bad. I have faith but it’s grounded in a belief that it’s well founded. Even if what you have faith in fails, the belief that is would have succeeded is what I have faith in. hmm. Who knows.
Points about which I wish to learn more:
• How many women go to university?
• What are female professions?
• What are the key social inequalities here?
• What domestic abuse occurs?
• How is poverty in India measured?
• What is done about poverty?
• What social care is available?
• What is the average income?
• What crime is there/how is it dealt with?
• What critical subjects are taught?
• How is a critical view of society treated?
• What beliefs drive peoples lives?
• How does North East India differ compared to the rest of West Bengal and the rest of India with regard to social inequality, education, poverty, happiness, income and health?
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photo by: gert-n-bert