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India 2009

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usually don’t get a break until late November or Early December. I decided this year to again visit beautiful India. And I already miss it…

They say India’s society is an exercise in “survival of the fittest” and the same could be said for its tourists.

India is the type of place that can chew up and spit out the most seasoned of world travelers… and ask for seconds. The minute you get into a car in India you will see the idol ‘Ganesh’ on the dashboard of even the most desperate auto-rickshaw. And there is a reason – you’re going to need that God at every corner, every intersection and maybe even just in your hotel’s parking lot.

One wonders why you don’t see Ganesh on citizens shoelaces and on bicycles, because as Ganesh knows, they need it more. But despite all of this, once you let go of your preconceived notions and just let the chaos envelope you and go with the flow, then and only then are you are truly ready to be a tourist of this fine country.

Colors, odors, animals all congregate here, and typically in the same place. All living things are abound and in full force. All it takes is the leveling of your camera to invoke a smile of even the most destitute of people. And that’s where the love comes in. How could one not fall in love with people who persevere and smile in the face of life’s most ardent adversary – daily life in a third world country. I hesitate to call India a ‘third world’ country, as it surely doesn’t feel like one to me. But alas, true to definition, it is.

However, as third-world as it may be, there is a newly injected liveliness which is occurring there as their stock market, their housing situations, and with the society as a whole starts to rise and become more modern. Being there several times over the years, I’ve witnessed seemingly small but obvious changes such as everyone having a cell phone and most having a cool aftermarket CD player in their cars. Oh and many families have cars now, even more than one in many cases. It’s amazing to witness an entire country modernize in the face of recession in other parts of the world.

But beyond the material things and stock markets will always be the spiritual aspect of India. The deep rooted history in things such as Astrology, Jainism, Islam. Some temples and other sacred sites goback several thousands of years. And they aren’t locked behind some vault or 3″ of lexan. You can visit these sites and walk among those that have walked the same path for thousands of years. It’s truly magical.

This year I traveled to many cities Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Goa and Kerela. North to South. It’s quite a treat to be in a small town and have a bunch of schoolchildren crowd you for chocolate. It’s worse to have none and feel like a heel for not having any… I didn’t make that mistake again. From the desert in the north to the amazon-like jungle in the very south, I had an amazing trip and are once again reminded of what a beautiful and great country this is to visit. We wholeheartedly recommend visiting India to anyone who reads this. You will never be the same after coming back.

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