Let me give you three words: noisy, hot, and dirty. This is how a lot of people described India to me when they told me about their experience in this country. To be sure, walking through muddy streets filled with trash, smelling BO everywhere you go, and having a hard time pulling up your pants because of the sweat covering your body isn’t an ideal foreign experience for most people.
Here are another three words: colorful, unique, and spicy. These are MY three words to describe India. It is extremely colorful..the clothing, the green trees, the skin tones, the jewelry… everything is unique, sometimes in bad ways and sometimes in good ways. Seeing a monkey in the subway station was unique. Watching dozens of kites flying high in the sky to celebrate Independence Day was unique. Riding in a rickshaw is VERY unique (and I love it!). The way that they say my name is unique (pretty much sounds like Olivie-hey). And spicy..yes, the food can be spicy, but I like to use this word more than “hot”. When I think of “hot”, I think of never-ending heat. But the word “spicy” makes me think of intense periods of heat followed by moments of refreshing coolness and rest. These literal moments of coolness can be a fresh breeze, a cup of cold water, an air conditioned cafe. Figuratively, though, there are moments of “coolness” to just the hectic and disconcerting way of life here. Amongst the dozens of men who stare rudely or whistle, there are those that give up their seat for old women (aka my mom) or bow respectfully at you. Every so often when passing someone they smile at you in greeting. Or when the children smile brightly at you and your heart melts…these are the moments that refresh you in this city so large that you start to forget that the figures milling about you are actual humans.