My first 24 hours in India confirmed what I always suspected — this country, its people and ideas are like a book with endless chapters. Today also confirmed what so many people told me I would find in India…a country of colors and contrasts.
Contrasts: Here in Bangalore I have already seen some of the most luxury, state-of-the art facilities and ideas that defy the definition of “cutting edge.” These bright spots live right next door to time honored tradition (a wonderful thing) and the daunting problems of poverty and pollution (a dreadful thing). But the Indians I met today spoke openly of these contrasts, and do not shy away from them. They seem keenly aware of the fact that their country is blessed with potential and progress while at the same time charged with challenges. One very kind man told me today “We have as much to work on as we have to look forward to.” I can already tell this will be a key theme for these next few days for me as I listen, learn and explore here in India.
Colors: Everything in the country seems to embrace color. From the fabrics worn by the women bustling down busy streets and the garlands of flowers hung around shop windows, to the fruits for sale and the rose petals floating in a stone pool that greeted us when we arrived, everything in India seems to be infused with a heightened understanding for hue. Even the smoggy sunset I saw here tonight was a bright pink and orange. Much of these colors are framed by the grey of an urban reality. But this seems to just heighten and sharpen the colors you see and that Indians so clearly embrace.
It is probably presumptuous to make any observations after being in a place for only 24 hours. But the contrasts and the colors of the past day have excited me for what’s to come and what I can learn from being here. The contrasts and colors have already endeared India to me as a place that embraces who it is…and what it can become.