Our final day in Delhi staying with Jessy's family has come to an end. Our stay with them has been humbling. What amazed me the most was how willing they were to give when they had so little. Their family has many medical bills to pay and are far from living in luxury. Yet they made sure we were always full and satisfied. Their deeds were performed simply from the goodness of their heart. They never expected anything in return. It was difficult saying goodbye to them, but I will carry their spirit with me on my journey. Meeting people like this restores my faith in humanity when I reflect on the ignorance and greed which has corrupted this world. This family has certainly provided me with deeper insight on the cultivation of loving-kindness and compassion. I am forever grateful to have met them.
Two weeks ago, the wheels of a Virgin jet bounced onto the New Delhi runway and I stepped into the hot afternoon air. Every morning since, I have woken to India as my new teacher. Sometimes it’s a lesson in stretching the boundaries of my comfort zone, as Jessy's family continues to teach me. Or, it’s a reminder to chill out and enjoy the ride while our driver weaves in and out of traffic, like a Tetris player jockeying for the perfect slot to wedge us between open trucks ferrying hollow-cheeked men and rickshaws jammed with 8-10 locals clad in jewel toned saris. And sometimes, it’s as simple as learning to appreciate the beauty of ornate Temples & Tombs set against a backdrop of garbage and grime.
Under a tight canopy of smog, I have seen spindly legged children squat to relieve themselves in the streets while executives in 3-piece suits cruise past in the latest Mercedes or BMW. I have heard a cacophony of horns interspersed with the Muslim morning call to prayer. I have learned more about Dharma & Karma and gained a new appreciation for the Sikh and Hindu teachings of searching for your Duty and Purpose in Life and using that path to serve others, with no attachment to receiving anything in return. I have smelled the putrid odor of sewage mingled with the fragrant scent of masala and chai and I have strolled through a park and watched the early morning sun illuminate piles of garbage and leaves caked with thick layers of dust.
With a population of 1.3B, India is a thriving kaleidoscope of culture, language, and religion and to say I’ve experienced India would be like saying I have experienced the United States after a tour of one neighbourhood in New York City. It would take much longer than two weeks to appreciate India in all of her wonder and complexity, and I hope I will have an opportunity to do just that.