Fortunately I was able to take some time away from work!!! This post will be dedicated to some of the amazing things I saw. ( less of the “weird” pictures.) When in India you will see amazing diversity in everything, stunning vibrant colors against depressing waste and pollution, antiquities along side of modernity, affluence mingled with impoverishment. Every sense is accosted and overwhelmed… what an amazing experience.
Not only did I see amazing things but I was also able to spend time with people away from work. I talked about everything you see as a “tourist”… and it is incredible. I found the true treasure of India is with its people where you will find the same diversity and complexity but underlying all of that you will find a common thread of kindness and love. I want to honestly thank all of the individuals I have worked with and been fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview. (They are truly amazing individuals) I also want to thank every one that I met while away from work.
I was very fortunate to go out one night with a friend Mak. (I met him last time I was here) He picked me up after work at my hotel and drove me around taking me to dinner and then home to meet his wonderful wife and brother. They spoiled me and my family with gifts and kind words. In return I pummeled them with questions about everything. They answered every question and were always very patient, open, and showed warm hearted kindness. Again I want to state that one of the true riches of India is the heart of its people… Not sure how to show that… You have to experience it.
It is very difficult to understand the Hindu religion but Mak explained somethings to me and showed me this small shrine in his home. There is nothing like having someone from India taking you around and helping you understand what you are seeing. After all of our conversations I felt so much more enlightened… only concern is that I now worry that when I die no crows will come and eat the rice balls. (You may have to be from India to understand that… or google it)
I notice what I thought was a necklace on a co-worker and I was informed that it was a mangala sutra. (A mangala sutra -meaning “holy, auspicious”, and sutra, meaning “thread” is a necklace that a Hindu or Indian groom ties around the bride’s neck, which identifies her as a married woman). I decided that this was the gift I was going to bring home for my wife since I was coming home on her birthday. Many of the women working in the office spent time helping us find the best place to buy one and even offered to take time off to help us with this purchase. (I used “us” since three of my colleagues decided to buy one for their wives as well)
One of the highlights of site seeing was visiting the Sinhgad Fort. This is supposedly one of the most haunted places to visit in India. It was breathtaking and exciting even though we unfortunately didn’t see or hear any ghosts. This became my favorite part of the trip thanks to a group of school children visiting the fort. We spent quite a bit of time with these children. So much time that by the end I think they were all making fun of me. (I would hear my name and then lots of laughing… hmm… wonder if they were ghosts) I don’t think I have ever had my picture taken so many times with so many strangers.
Here is the last picture and it is of the airport and me saying good bye to India. I am also praying that I wont be sick on the airplane like last time. (there might have been also a small prayer that crows would eat my rice balls when I die… ) I am finishing this now at home…I didn’t get sick! So PERFECT trip… now if I can only get my sleeping schedule back to normal… darn jetlag…