With a mild 2 months and 17 days having come and gone from the moments that I’d taken some serious time and effort to construct and thoroughly think about the 8 months I would eventually be finding myself embarking upon; on this 25th of October, I find myself once again alarmed at how much has and will be coming forth in the remainder of my time here in the ever changing and deeply vibrating grasps of the country, India.
But before I delve into the detail of my time here thus far, I will discuss what has come to become a consistently attending discrepancy and anxiety-stirring presence throughout my journey nearly 2 months.
And that is, the fear of losing who I am.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the meaning behind why I am here and why I chose to be here along with the behaviour and open-mindedness that is unanimously expected of me.
But with that acknowledged, I do understand also the right I have internally vowed to myself once I started noticing the symptoms of what seemed to be happening just recently.
No longer did I find the urge to envelop myself in the realm of hysteria when passing by a homeless dog harmlessly curled into a ball on the street corners of my host-town of Aundh in outer city Pune.
No longer did my eyes widen when passing by a family living under a bridge holding an infant baby and any other possession they’d been so lucky as to keep for themselves.
No longer did my tongue burn mercilessly when given an umpteenth cup of chai by the next random person.
No longer did I question the integrity of crossing a highway by my own will with not a traffic light in sight with the fear of getting hit by a mob of cows who decided to go for a mid-afternoon’s stroll because they could.
No longer did I question that a cow had s o many more rights than I did that they could pretty much go wherever they pleased, whenever they pleased and not have to spend a single dime.
And for all that I no longer noticed myself observing and reacting to, I became somewhat angered at myself.
That is, not so much about a cow being entitled to more in my will than my first-born heir, but the fact that I was losing my conscience.
I didn’t spend time staring at the people selling toys or just outright begging in the literal core of traffic but making sure the meter on the rickshaw wasn’t moving a pace ahead of what it should be.
And for this, I always have to remind myself of the reality hidden in plain sight in the lovely country of India.
People were living under bridges, shoeless children were orphaned and living within junkyards, and rivers became moving landfills smelling of rotting somethings and iron nothings.
During my Pre-Departure Training within the week before August 28, 2016, our mentors made it their gospel to tell us to not look for the poverty because if we did, we would surely find that instead of the beauty also within our communities. And while I understand completely their well-meaning behind such dialogues, if I do disregard and overlook the poverty I do inevitably find, then where then will change come? Where willy my humanity be restored? Our humanity?
If not me, then who?
October 25, 2016
B2 – Hidden in Plain Sight