Memorable Moments

Luke Sallmen - India


October 9, 2016

Since I'm unable to come up with a singular theme to describe my time in India thus far, I'd like to share some of the most memorable events I've experienced:

The day I realized buses could hold more people than I thought was possible:
I've never tolerated an elbow embedded in my ribcage for so long, nor did I believe that a bus could still move down the road with that many people on board. But I made it, and so did the bus.  

The time I realized how insane traffic is: 
It's really insane. Cars, trucks, rickshaws, and motorbikes (motorcycles) all weave in and out of their lanes, and sometimes onto the sidewalks. People pass on the right side, on the left side, and between two other vehicles. And don't get me started on the honking – it is used for everything: for letting other drivers know your location, to tell pedestrians to move, to tell other cars to move, and sometimes seemingly for pure pleasure. Amazingly, it all seems to work. There aren't that many accidents, and most drivers are acclimated to the Indian style of driving – one that favors efficiency rather than organization. 

The day I realized how many role models I've met in India:
It was a few days ago when I met my Teach For India mentor. I thought about all of the speakers and amazing people the GCY India fellows have gotten to listen to, and all the people and causes they're advocating for. From the Staff here at GCY, to the amazing people working at TFI, to my host parents – I'm incredibly humbled to realize all the different ways people use their lives to help others. Whether I think back to the people working to deliver clean water and waste management to rural villages, or those who are combating gender discrimination in government schools, I'm inspired. 

The many times I realized how much I missed my friends and family back home (and in other countries):
Absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. It's easy for me to take for granted the friendships and quality time that I spent with those I love when they're so easily accessible, but it's another thing entirely to be thousands of miles away. It's been hard to come to terms with not seeing them for six months, but it's been great to get the chance to think about how much I love them. 

All of the times I've done unusual/crazy things (mom and dad, don't read this):
I've hung out of the door of a moving bus. I jumped onto a moving bus. I ate rice with my hand (yes, one hand) off of a banana-leaf plate. I passionately sang a High School Musical song in front of a crowd of people I didn't know. I watched a Bollywood film so long it had intermissions (Never watch "Lagaan". Don't do it.). I even ate street food from vendors with questionable sanitation practices (and survived)!

This moment (the day I realized I should've published this blog like three weeks ago): 
Because I told my friends and family I'd try to put out a blog every two weeks. Oops! maaf kijiye (I'm sorry)!!! 

Luke Sallmen