The school of life, in India

The School of Life

A couple of days ago we were in Delhi, walking the dog near the building where Ashray’s Mom lives. As the dog approached a little bushy area near some trash, a massive rat jumped out and then I jumped even higher! I freaked out and cursed the monsoons when rats, same as humans, escape the wet areas and run for shelter.

I was getting too wrapped up in my own bullshit when Ashray pointed out something that was happening next to the same bush where Mr. Rodent was trying out his circus moves.


“Did you notice that lady with a bag?”


I said yes… and then it hit me: while I was doing the gora thing, being scared of a rat, there was this lady in the middle of the night, coming to search the trash. Perhaps for food, maybe scraps to sell for recycling.. anything that could have any residual value at all. I felt like an idiot at that time: while I get scared of rats, some people actually have to search through the same scraps rats live out of to try and make a living.

Today we were walking the dog near the same spot and I saw someone else doing the same. This time it was a little boy, no older than 7, that walked on top of broken tiles and crumbling cement with bare feet, until he found a carton box he proudly carried out of the dump.

India hits you with moments like these all the time. Makes you understand how everything is so relative. And how people still manage to move on even in the most adverse of situations. Whenever things get tough, India teaches you to buck up, to appreciate what you have, because there is always someone else’s reality that will contrast with yours in a way that will make your worries feel smaller and, in the big picture, often insignificant.

There are lessons to be learned everyday, as long as you keep your eyes open and your mind in rec mode. And that takes me to today’s photo of the day and what I see in it: whenever life doesn’t give you a bed.. put two chairs together!

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  • Franca Says

    I’ve never been to India, no yet, but I really want to go even though is a though country to travel through mainly for the reasons you said. No matter how big your worries and problems might look there will always be someone else’s reality that will make them look stupid.
    Nice thoughts and photo of the day! :)

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Franca!
      Traveling in India can be a tough experience for some, true, but I assure you it’s extremely rewarding. For people coming from different parts of the world, it’s an eye opener, it moves you. Some love it, some hate it. But I doubt anyone leave India with a feeling of indifference.
      If you ever come to India and we’re in Delhi, we’ll be happy to show you around! :)

  • Believer In Christ Says

    I like what you’re doing, very exciting traveling and trying new foods. I’ve been to Yosemite and it’s so sad to see it on fire. Praying. Yosemite was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.Once we trailed the John Muir trail.

  • Vaibhav Gadodia Says

    And it is only through perspectives from visitors such as yourself do we Indians stop and look again at what is around us.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Vaibhav!
      Very true that sometimes an outsider’s perspective helps people re-see and re-think things that one might have gotten too used to. I am glad you see it that way!

  • Irina Says

    This is so true! Sometimes I catch myself being extremely spoiled & complaining about stupid non-essential stuff: my phone provider is sending me text messages, a bus is late, the PVR didn’t record a show… Meanwhile people elsewhere have no food or die from drinking contaminated water, or have to sort through a pile of garbage, or raise their family on a dumpster….

    This is scary & unfair! The sad thing is we here don’t see it every day on the streets, like you do. So we forget to stop and have a reality check.

    • Zara Says

      It’s true that things gain other relevance when you see them from up close. When I used to live in Portugal, for example, I was obviously aware that people die of hunger and diseases that are now a days treatable. The ads on TV (from Unicef and the likes) always take you to “far away” places like Africa and Asia. So you know that those things do happen to “someone”… “somewhere”. But when you see this kind of stuff happening right before your eyes, right outside your door.. that’s when you realize that “hey, this could have been me!”. Sometimes we take for granted how lucky we are or even the place where we are born / live in. These aren’t things that we have earned for ourselves, it’s just fate and life.. but it isn’t as fair for everyone. So it’s important to get outside our little corners of the world and look at the big picture. It’s harsh, but hey, that’s life!

  • And this makes everyone not only appreciate what they have but also think of those who barely survive. Very touching post Z, thumbs up!

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  • Shorba Says

    That is so true!!!

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