I was born in New Jersey, but for the past several years, my family and I have been visiting New Delhi, India almost every summer to spend time with my paternal grandparents. Over the years I have learned much from spending time in the place of my forefathers.
The flight to New DelhiIndia is long. We sometimes take the 14 ½ hour Continental non-stop flight from Newark, NJ. Other times we have taken connecting flights from Newark, through various cities in Europe. The connecting flights can be 18 to 21 hours long. India is ten hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. This time difference combined with a flight adds up to quite a bit of jet-lag!
My paternal uncle usually comes to receive us at the airport and then takes us to my grandparent’s home. The first thing that one notices upon entering the airport is the number of people. India is the home of over 1 billion people any place that one goes is quite crowded! The streets are full of cars and despite the fact that it is the middle of the night (most international flights arrive quite late Indian Standard Time), we encounter quite a bit of traffic on the way to my grandparent’s house. Once there, we are quite excited to meet them as an entire year has gone by. My grandmother has food waiting for us as she knows that after so many hours we would be hungry. After we eat and talk, it is time to sleep. Most of our time there is spent with at home with my grandparents, my uncle, aunt and their son, my cousin in New Delhi. My cousin is my age so we enjoy being together.
In the past ten years, India’s economy has exploded. This is quite obvious in the number of upscale homes and apartments that have been built. Numerous malls, filled with expensive stores for the wealthier population, have appeared throughout every part of the country. Despite all this economic wealth, India’s population is amazingly diverse. This is a country which has the wealthiest and the poorest. This contrast is visible everyday. Those who live in lavish homes step out of their gated front yards and see the poorest living on the streets in makeshift huts. Some of these poor have barely enough food and water and live in poor sanitary conditions. Many are beggars, including children. Most in India have become oblivious to this stark contrast but for a visitor it is difficult to ignore.
In most parts of India, power outages are a daily common event, especially during the hot summer months. In many cases, power does not resume for several hours. This is because there is not enough to supply everyone all at once, thus power supply is rotated. Most people have become used to these occurrences.
By describing India in this way, my intention is not to criticize or complain, but instead, to appreciate all that I have in the United States and also to appreciate what India does have to offer. My mother always tells me that there is good and bad everywhere. In India, it may be hot and there may not be as many creature comforts as we have in the United States, however, I have learned to ignore all those factors and enjoy my time with my grandparents. I also have learned to truly appreciate what I have in the United States. I think that visiting different countries opens one’s eyes to how other parts of the world live.
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