An Open Letter to the Woman Who Learned 11 Life Changing Things from Travelling in India (In Response to a Thought Catalog Article)

Written in response to this article

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India is a country that is open to tourists. We have a rich culture, historic landmarks, beautiful people and we don’t stop people of other countries from getting a chance to visit our country, or make them go through short, unreliable interviews to decide whether we’ll let them in or not. And we welcome your gratitude for that. I don’t know which part of India you may have visited but, there are beautiful places and good things to learn too, from this country.

Loved your article, but a few points I’d like to clarify.

Chaos is beautiful

Unlike the quiet streets of the very developed countries filled with eerie, lonely quietness, except for the sound of cars speeding everywhere, the streets of India are filled with chaos. There are people everywhere, in bright traditional attires, clusters of bling and every-ready smiles selling bangles, fresh kebabs and hot tea and coffee. While one would have to wait minutes to hail a taxi, in India, there are tens of them lined up, and all you have to do is thankfully choose one or just walk away.

There are Houses

For anyone who has not visited India, the picture of the country painted in their minds is one of dirt and slums everywhere. But, newsflash! India has houses too. Apartment buildings loom everywhere, there are malls, department stores and most importantly, education is booming. Yes, while there are many earning their bread as constructions workers and the likes living in slums, the country is also filled with the world’s most brilliant engineers and doctors, who have a 9 to 5 job and roofs above their heads.

And Trash Cans Too

There is garbage in the streets but, India is developing its waste and recycles policy day by day. If you would have travelled a little further, like the city I live in now, Chennai, you will find that there are waste bins in every other corner. In the area I live in, every street has two huge bins from where the waste is collected everyday by a garbage truck and disposed in the assigned area.

The Women are Okay

India has a collection of not only the most beautiful but also, intelligent crowd of women.  Out of the 29 states, three women lead as Chief Ministers, and three as governors of state. The managing director of leading companies like IBM, Britannia Industries, HP and one of the country’s best hospitals, Apollo Hospital Enterprises are women. The title of head of office for Facebook India is ALSO held by a woman.

You’ll find four Indians in the list of Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful women with two taking the top ten spots (the latter has an American citizenship but was BORN and EDUCATED in India). If you looked around a little more, you will find that we have dancers, singers, political activists and writers. There are times we do have to fight for equality, but don’t every women? Don’t every person?

Politically Speaking

Politics is never pretty, in any country. Enough said. Education may not be doing perfectly well, but it’s a work-in-progress and here are the updates.

The eighty sixth amendment in the Constitution Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six to fourteen years, as a Fundamental Right. Also, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 states that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standard”. Both of which have come into effect from 1 April 2010.

There are Tibetans in exiles that have been forced out of their homeland, but, who have been lovingly granted homes, lands and education. They miss their land, but they have a home for now, thanks to India. Spread love.

Impatience

Anyone who travels anywhere out of their country will have to look around for buses, post offices and WI-Fi hotspots because, FYI, they are not from that place and don’t know the area.

Haute Culture

There are 29 states in India and each has their own distinct cultures, beautiful ones with a rich heritage. Each state has different dialects, traditional attires and dances and savories that are distinct to each one. Each state feels like a different country altogether and if there is one thing we could be proud of, it’s our rich culture. While there are still traditional ways of arranged marriages in some states, the women in most states have the freedom to marry of their own will. Freedom to say no and freedom to fall in love. I have dated men of whom all my family member’s upto my grandparents know and tease me about. So, YES people date, A LOT, in India.

Of Dreams and Desires

You got that point right. Everyone has dreams and desires, and there are some of us who fulfill it and some of us who don’t, it’s the same case all over the world.

You are welcome back anytime because we are a loving and gracious country. Next time you come, if you could actually see the beauty and not only learn from the negatives in our country, but also from the good, from the way our culture makes a point to respect and take care of our elderly, from how close knit the families are here, from our beautiful dances and rich textures of silk. That would be appreciated.

With love,

An Indian Girl who makes her living as a writer (which is her passion), whose family does not mind her marrying the man of her dreams (whom she is still yet to find), who lives in a house with a fridge filled with food, walks in streets that don’t have shit, loves taking in the chaos of her country and plans of becoming a great journalist.

Incase you missed, this is why some people call India beautiful –

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tajjj

In the list of Lonely Planet’s best place to travel in 2014, Sikkim  (a state in India) is number one on the list.

sikkim

namastē

beautiful india

 

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