For someone who loves writing, I’ve had a surprisingly hard time writing consistently during our trip. For our time in Sri Lanka I can make use of Dengue as an excuse, but even that meant mostly that I had a ton of time to sit and write if I had so chosen. For India I could make the excuse that we’ve been on the move so much, that we haven’t had time or wi-fi, or that our schedule has been to full for me to write, but in reality there were plenty of gaps in time where I could have sketched out a quick outline of our day-to-day activities and the like.
As I think about it now, typing on our Ipad while we drive through the rich green of small farms, punctuated with huddles of grass huts and the occasional brick factory on the road from Agra back to Delhi, I believe the bigger issue is that I’m not exactly sure what to write. Perhaps the best word for India is overwhelming. The word carries with it negative connotations, but I don’t mean it in exactly a negative way.
There’s just so much to take in when you travel through India. Even the smallest of villages is a world wildly different from the structured, glittering cleanness of the west. Drive though any city and there’s a thousand things that pile up to coat your senses. The crush of anything-goes traffic, the smell of hundreds of spices being used by equally as many street food vendors, the sight of poverty expressed in fields of tents under overpasses and children clothed in only layers of dirt, the grandeur and beauty of mughal ruins and ancient temples; all of it and more piles up to overwhelm.
In the midst of it all Kelly and I have been driving (riding, to be more precise – we hired a driver who knows the area), walking, and attempting to take in all that we can and capture at least some of it for ourselves and for sharing in photographs and video. Somewhere along the way a day or two ago I realized I was thinking more about capturing the moment than the people in the moments I was capturing. To avoid the overwhelmingness I started to think of India and it’s sights and people in terms of photographs rather than in terms of people created in the image of God and in need of the love of Christ.
We’ve got two and a half days left here in this country. In a couple hours we’ll arrive back in Delhi, completing our tour of the classic “golden triangle” of northern India and seeing amazing historical places like the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, and the others. So far I feel like we’ve been driving from one tourist attraction to the next. My hope for the next couple days in Delhi is to get my feet on the ground and walk the city streets to ineract with people, taste a tiny bit of what life is like for a normal Indian in the city, and embrace the overwhelmingness of a culture that’s so drastically different than ours. I know that I’ll have much more to write as we return to normal life in the States and I have time to process and put together the pieces that have been given to me by this country.