“Why is that guy painting a door in the middle of this busy road?”
“Wait! Was that an elephant walking around downtown?”
“Are we really allowed to drive down the wrong way of this street just because it’ll be quicker?”
Maharaj, our driver, could tell he was ushering another set of new arrivals around his proud city as we were rubbernecking.
His simple, smiling exclamation to many of our observational outbursts was “Freedom India!”
A video summary of our time in Ahmedabad, India.
Because our boys’ heritage is half German and half Indian, we felt it important to visit those countries when the time was right. It helps that Spain is about the midpoint to India from our home in the States, so what better time to make our first trip with the kids?
We had been holding off primarily for two reasons: 1) We wanted the boys to be at an age where they would remember the experience and 2) India isn’t exactly an easy or overly kid-friendly place to visit.
Wanting to make this trip count, we opted to go for one month. We started in the friendly confines of Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat where grandparents, aunts/uncles, and my brother-in-law’s family were also visiting. It was cute to listen to the first time visiting cousins discuss the things they were seeing and sharing their experiences.
We spent most of the first week seeing family, shopping, and visiting a few of the more well known sites in the area.
It also allowed us to participate in one of the largest kite festivals in the world.
One of the highlights was visiting our oldest aunt’s retirement home, celebrating upcoming birthdays, and serving them lunch.
On the surface, I can see why a lot of people don’t care for India. It’s crowded. It’s dirty. Few things work the way you want. But what do you expect from a country with 1.25 billion people? To put that in perspective, quadruple every American and ask them to live within the eastern seaboard of the United States.
It is a democracy after all. A big, messy, complicated democracy where it is hard to influence change. This isn’t like China where the government sets the tone and everyone follows. Throw in considerations associated with overpopulation along with economic and social challenges, and you get India.
I’m still not sure I know what “Freedom India!” means, but I suspect it has something to do with Indians doing what they need to do to survive without messy rules in place getting in the way.
Freedom India, indeed.
Have you been to India?
If so, what was your impression? If not, would you like to visit?