A nation's culture resides in the heart & soul of its people | Mumbai, India - Sid Naidu Photography 2015

A nation's culture resides in the heart & soul of its people | Mumbai, India - Sid Naidu Photography 2015

Dear India, 

I feel like I'm finally getting to know a bit of you, after visiting your states from Karnataka to Kerala, Goa to Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu & back. You provided me with family that sheltered me with love in your cities from Bombay to Margao. You gave me a home in my parent's childhood town of Bangalore.

I know you sense some tension between us and I have to be honest that I've not yet made peace in living with you. You've told me to accept the way things are but I know your potential is more. I can't accept the way things are because it's hurting you. 

Your roads are reckless and chaotic and so it blisters your feet. Since civic responsibility has been lost to survival your hands have been tied behind your back. Your population living in poverty has become normalized and it weakens your bones. Your streets are littered with garbage and it hides your beauty. Your environment is being abused and it slows down your heartbeat. Your resources are being wasted and it drains your blood. Clashes of spiritual and state lines has divided your soul. 

So tell me why should I accept this as your reality when you deserve more. I've dreamed of the potential for positive change in the world but today I need to dream specifically for you.  

Yet despite all the difficulties you face, you've still given me one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive; the chance to start understanding the stories of my parents. You have allowed me to learn about how they grew up during a time when you were young and free and you've allowed me to accept their life story as part of my own legacy.

This alone has made all the difference for me.     

So I've come to understand that it must have been your plan all along. To let me live with your challenges so you could bring me closer to you. To simply be in the shared reality that our people face & help me make sense of my own stance in being the change I wish to see. 

I've been pondering here quite a lot and there is some truth in my thinking. 

If I was a storyteller, how could I truthfully tell the stories of others if I cannot not speak of my own story of the land from where my ancestors came from and to the roots from which I grew. 

If I was an artist, how could I meaningfully without learning how and what my culture had created before me, with the detailed heritage that influenced many generations but also got lost in the pages of history. 

If I was a community builder, how could I significantly raise a generation without living amongst the obstacles and barriers that the youth battle with in our vast world of complexities. 

So thank you India

For sharing with me your rich history and culture that is still a mystery to many, for making me uncomfortable by the chaos that you command, for challenging me to not accept your flaws as forever. 

You've humbled me on more than one occasion and showed me the complex simplicity of life here. 

I might be packing my bags to leave but this is not goodbye India, this is I’ll see you see later. 

Thank you India for the months that you have carried me through. 

Note from the author

A year ago I decided to slowly start stepping away from the reality I knew in Canada to begin a new journey. Today I am miles away from where I first started, knowing that this journey is nowhere close to being done.

I asked myself if I was willing to choose a life where I could do more on my own to build a better foundation not just for me but for the communities I surrounded myself with & then took the dive.

This post was created as a short travel writing piece to close my travels in India over the last four months of 2015. 

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