India today

This summer we visited India.  It had been about six years since our last visit. While some things remained the same, there were also quite a few changes.

The biggest change I noticed was the amount of traffic. I honestly don’t know how people commute under such conditions.  I guess there are just a set of unwritten rules that the locals have developed over the years.  Even as a passenger,my heart skipped a beat a few times!

Traffic in front of the Chennai High Court

Can you imagine crossing the road?!

Strangely enough,it seems like there are fewer fender bender cases.  Perhaps it is the constant honking that keeps all drivers on alert! 😄

There were so many varieties of restaurants. There were a lot of western options (which my kids appreciated for a change) but what was more impressive was the innovative ways they served Indian food! Barbecue, dim sum style, classic banana leaf style.

I definitely put on a few pounds during the vacation!

I was most interested in showing my kids the cultural,natural and historical aspects of India. In the words of my kids, “Of course you would Mom!” 

I myself did not grow up in India so I can certainly relate to their experiences.  But as a child, I enjoyed the simplicity of life in India.  The sonpapdi (Indian dessert that I can’t resist) vendor would ring his bell as he pushed his cart down the street (Much like the ice cream truck minus the creepy music).  Veges, fruit and fresh flowers were all sold by street vendors. It had that more “Support your local farmers” feel.

I found some of that still hidden away in all the clutter of shops and cars.

You can even get ‘Henna’done on the street!

We visited a place called Kanchipuram (two hour drive from Chennai) which is known for its historical temples.  I was honestly in awe!  

These temples are over a thousand years old! Half the time I stood there just wondering how they built them.  The precision of the sculptures, the height of the arches, the smooth rounded pillars. All this without the technology of today.  Technology can sometimes be overrated…seriously!

Varadharaja temple entrance

Sculptures within the temple 

Ekambaresan temple – amazing symmetry and detail 

Kailasanath temple – made of sandstone

Chennai itself has many impressive temples.

Kabaleeshwar temple

Marundeshwar temple tank

My temple experiences involved reflection of some sort you could say.  It was meditation through observation or mindfulness. Atleast it wasn’t about, “Please give me this” or “Please make this happen”.  Personally, I think that misses the point altogether.  To each his own on that one!

With more development, the Information Technology boom and more people building houses where they shouldn’t, it is so hard to move around. Pedestrians can barely walk on the streets. Even cows are feeling this. 

Cows hanging out at the beach

I have seen cows on the streets, but this was a first!  

There is so much talent, skill and beauty (material and natural) that India has to offer.  I only wish there was better infrastructure (and some amount of regulation) to help it grow successfully.  It’s sadly a dog eat dog world in many cases.



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