Looking through a window 25,000 feet above the green patchwork fields of India, regularly interspersed with varying sizes of villages, towns & cities; linked, like the threads of a cobweb it's hard to imagine the chaos going on below!
I feel genuinely sad to be leaving this wonderful crazy country & a slightly changed person for having been. Two of my best friends have spent time in different parts of India at different times and they both told me that I would love it and they were right.
Although the amount of poverty in the cities of India is huge, as is the divide between the 'haves' & the 'have nots', it's hard to pity the poor too much because despite how their way of life appears, they do genuinely seem okay with their lot. They don't have the luxury of worrying themselves sick about the future & money, as they have to live for the day & you can't lose what you don't have.
I also cant imagine loneliness exists in the slums as there are so many people buzzing about & there seems a genuine feeling of community, with everyone looking out for each other.
Of course I'm not saying that the people living in poverty are luckier than those of us from the west or that we should give up all our possessions & live under the railway bridges and I'm also aware that there is corruption within the slums: I know nothing about Indian politics & can only talk about what I have seen during my short visit.
Sometimes we are quick to compare our lives to those who have less or more than us, feeling more superior to those who have little & inferior to those who appear to be having a better time than we are. In the West, even the less well off have so much but we rarely have time to enjoy those things. There are those who complain that their lives are crap but life is what you make it and in the UK we are lucky to get the chance to be who we want to be & see & do things that the millions of people in India will never get the chance to do & yet they are still ready to smile & laugh. I will never forget the joy on a lady from the slum's face when I handed her a hair comb because when you have nothing, the simplest things become hugely important & special. Life is very real in India and you can feel it but even a local said he will never understand it!
So if you are someone who is interested in experiencing new places & cultures, beautiful people, bright colours & interesting food and if you can embrace/tolerate the rubbish issues, the smells that can sometimes take your breath away (this is worse by the rivers which can double as sewers), the incredible variety & volume of noise, the organised chaos of the roads, & the poverty, then you will fall in love with India. It's hard to put my finger on what makes it so magical or maybe it's not despite those issues, maybe it's because of them...