Glances out the window reveal life in action. A bare-foot and bare-bottomed boy running down an alleyway using a stick to control a rolling bicycle tire. An old man wrapped in many layers of clothing to ward off the morning cold, lighting his morning cigarette. A young girl, maybe 10, carrying a toddler along the sidewalk on her hip. Begging. Filthy. Her hair matted with dirt. But somehow pretty all the same.
An elephant, painted for some occasion-or maybe just for an everyday
show. A platform strapped to his/her back with a single large rope.
Moving through traffic, horns blaring on all sides, the sound of bells
clanging as the huge beast rocks back and forth on a stiff march through
the centre of the city. What is the look in his or her eye?
A groom riding a white horse as part of a noisy procession. Making
his way to his wedding. Not a young man. Women, girls, young men
colorfully dressed. All dancing along throwing some sort of powder in
the air as they followed a small vehicle playing music over a
A man working in a building 6 ft square – a barber shop. A look of
pride and recognition as we make our way past his shop for the second
time today. We see him and he sees us as he flicks a sheet around the
shoulders of his next customer.
A woman on the back of a motorcycle. Dressed elegantly and
colorfully. Barely hanging on, just balancing – years of experience. She
has her head buried behind the drivers back, looking down at her cell
phone - texting someone. Oblivious to us or the cows her driver is
snaking through on the tiny village road.
India is a study of beauty. And that beauty is found right next to or
between the filth. Focus on the stench, the garbage everywhere, the
cacophony of noisy car horns blaring and you will have great distaste.
But make eye contact with people, see their beauty, see the smiles, see
through the dirty exterior and you will find the beauty of the human
condition. And then it is gone.
India is a feast for the eyes and paying attention is the only requirement.
DWC/Softchoice Volunteer Participant
India. February 15, 2015.