“We have reached Hyderabad, India,” said the flight attendant, “We hope your stay here is enjoyable.” India had always been a paradox to me. I was born there yet I did not feel a connection to the place. I was raised in a western world by parents deeply entrenched in the Indian culture. This confused me greatly since the traditions of the Indian culture frequently clashed with the ideals of the west. Therefore, I felt like I did not belong in India; my way of dressing was different, the way I talked was different, and even the way I composed myself was different. On the other hand, my parents were excited to be back in their homeland and happy to finally be able to show me the traditions and lifestyles of the native people.
Once we arrived at my grandmother’s house and were well rested, my uncle asked my sister and me if we wanted to take a trip to the local elementary school to distribute school supplies. Although the school was small and outdated, the students were very optimistic, and they took advantage of every opportunity offered to them. Many rural schools would not be able to continue without the regular assistance and donations of citizens such as my uncle. We were making it possible, even with our small contribution, for children to have a good education and, in turn, a successful future. Even though we supplied the students with tools for their education, the students provided me much more knowledge. The lessons that I acquired from the experience made me thankful for what I have, and taught me the power of one helpful hand.
The rest of the trip was even more enlightening. Everyday, I woke up at dawn and herded buffalo with my sister. It was an incredibly relaxing yet informative experience. Herding buffalo requires much more patience and perseverance than I originally thought. The buffalos disliked staying in the group and would unexpectedly run away. When they tried to leave, I would chase after them with sticks to get them back in the group. This actually frightened them even more and caused them to run further away. I eventually learned that if I was patient, they would come back on their own accord.
The most important lesson I learned in India was simple: how to appreciate and enjoy life. I could enjoy a day by lying under a shady tree and listening to the sounds of nature. It was simple yet so peaceful and pleasurable.
I was reluctant to leave India but I was happy that I learned and experienced so much on my trip. The lesson I learned from the school children has inspired me to pursue a career as a doctor. I want the ability to heal someone and take them out of their pain because I believe doing so is the greatest accomplishment one can hope to achieve. The buffaloes taught me that I should not jump to conclusion but be patient and understand situations before I act. And lastly, that there was no need to look for enjoyment since it was all around me, I just had to notice it.
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