Discovering My Roots

February 20, 2012
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I’ve never really considered my roots. I’ve never considered what it means to be Indian. I had never really followed any of the stereotypes. I never really understood where I was from, nor had I tried to. This was until my trip to India. The moment my plane landed in Mumbai, India, I knew this would be an experience. I was home, yet so far away from home. It was a funny feeling, seeing all the bright colors and breathing in all the scents, the scents that seemed so familiar yet so unknown.

India is like no other place in the world. It’s so full of life, whether it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon or at 3 o’clock in the morning. There is a constant chaos surrounding us, full of chatter. I understood most of this chatter, having become fairly fluent in Hindi as a child. I saw more diversity on my drive from the airport to my hotel than I had seen in my 16 years of existence living in Overland Park, Kansas. Ironically enough, I loved it. I loved how in India, everything was so in your face. There was no way to avoid the slum to your right, just as you could not avoid the palace to your left. It was the furthest thing from perfection. It was reality at its finest.


We visited India for my uncle’s wedding, though the trip ended up being much more than that for me. As the scents of dirt and stray animals mixed with the scents of the lavish lifestyle many lived, I was intrigued. My hotel was a world of its own, with five-hour buffets with cuisine from all over the world, and a countless number of waiters just waiting to serve. They wanted so much to please the guests; it left me a little shocked. They were so willing to give you whatever you pleased, while they themselves had little. Their persona was not the slightest bit bitter, despite the slums that many would have to go home to that night after work.


The wedding that I attended was by far the best experience of my life. It was loud and bright and honestly, crazier than I thought my Indian family could be. The stereotype for most Indians is that they spend their free time studying rather than going out. This idea completely changed in my mind after visiting India. I saw kids do the same sort of things that I did with my friends. There was really not much of a difference in the way kids acted; the difference was more in the environment that they lived in. I can honestly say I have never gone out with my friends and seen the pained expression of a child begging for money in rags, nor have I ever seen a dead animal lying in the middle of the street. On the other hand, it was also uncommon for me to see maids and drivers at so many houses. India was a contradiction in itself. While it held so much beauty and so many riches, it also held so much filth and so many less fortunate.


My trip to India was nothing like I had expected. I was not sure if this was because I had no expectations, or because it truly was the best experience of my life. I came to understand my heritage, and I realized the diversity that this world holds. India was an eye opener, but definitely a good one. I do not think I would be the person I am today if I had not visited, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go there. I honestly cannot sum up my trip to India by saying anything other than that it was amazing.





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