As I reflect on my trip to India, I try to wrap my brain around what I saw and experienced. I try to find words that accurately describe that world–colorful, chaotic, crowded, hot, amazing come to mind.

But I think that the most accurate and illustrative summary of India that I can come up with is actually the word contrast. As in, India is a place of dramatic disparity and striking contrasts.

The contrast between the rich and the poor. A holy man asking for money to bless me. A cow holding up two lanes of traffic. An ox-cart/cow-cart/camel-cart on a highway alongside buses, cars, and trucks. Women in beautiful saris sitting side-saddle on the backs of motorcycles. Delhi—India’s third-largest city—with a population of 16 million people (double the size of New York!) not having basic infrastructure like trash removal. Wild monkeys everywhere…including major cities that are twice the size of New York. Families of five on one motorcycle. Families of five on one motorcycle and only the father (who’s driving) wears a helmet. Monks buying ice cream. Flies covering fresh food. Rishikesh’s city government hiring people to empty dumpsters (into the sacred Ganges River) and simultaneously hiring a “Green the Ganges” team to…fish trash out of the sacred Ganges River. People purifying themselves in a river polluted by trash and toxic waste. Women purifying themselves in the Ganges only ever fully clothed in their saris. Men purifying themselves in the Ganges wearing only ever small, skin-tight bathing suits (shorts). Most men wearing western clothes. Absolutely no women wearing western clothes. 110-degree weather and yet everyone very covered (men in long-sleeves, long pants; women in saris or salwar kameezs). Food being sold/consumed in the filth of the streets. McDonald’s being a really nice restaurant. Electricity being unreliable (at best!) and yet only the really nice hotels having back-up generators. (Think of the ramifications of that—all the food that spoils and then is sold anyway.)

My own internal contrast of being so fascinated and drawn to this crazy, amazing, and difficult place.

Can I get that with a side of flies, please?
Street scene
Mama and Baby Monkey
mobile android gps tracking app
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