So… I’m in India. Probably at this point you are all thinking that you will spend the next few minutes reading about cows crossing the streets, unstoppable traffic horns, unsanitized waters at places, bindis and tajmahal. Nevertheless, even though these are the “cultural shock” things from India for me, these are things that I can tell you all about for five hours and will still not come close to what it really feels like.
Nevertheless, I wish to tell you about something else – my own Host Family!
I am staying with Nehha – the Bharatanatyam dancer and Brave leader from Sarvam Foundation who accompanied six girls in Poland – and her family: Hima (Mom) and Bhutto (Dad). It has been a very welcomed surprise to be “on the other side” for me.
I am finding myself a bit in the shoes of our participants, who meet new families in the first moments of their arrival and with whom they share so many things. Food is different. Cities work differently. Smells are different. Multiple languages around me, most of which I completely don’t understand or cannot pronounce. And I have these wonderful three people to guide me and advise me, as private amulets for my trip 🙂
Of course I need to start with the food. Forget whatever you hear about Indian food – great does not even come close! And home cooked food… Oh. My. God. My tongue probably thinks I died and came to heaven. No wonder that children groups from India spend their time in despair about the food or stuffing themselves in nutella. All we give them must taste the same. It´s probably like they are eating water all the time! Wondering how people survive in Europe in such conditions.
Nehha, Hima and Bhutto have been so kind to me and received me with open hearts. They endure all my questions with warmth and explain every detail to me, with the patience of someone putting a tight sweater on a two year old.
Ana: “Does hinduism also have, huuuum… like, huuuum… 1 sacred day in the week?”
Bhutto: “Well, you know…. there are thousands of dieties (gods and encarnations). Each one having its day. There are not enough days in the week, not even in the year! If you want, you can pray 24/7 for a year and probably you will still miss some one…but it’s not like they’re gonna get mad about that.”
Another recent hit question, in a trip to the Temple of the birthplace of Krishna was: “How did they know it was Krishna, when he was born?” To which the guide looks at me with an inquisitive brow, and just laughs at me saying: “Well, it was Krishna! Hes a god! …Not to mention, he is blue…”. Well, I am still not sure if I would recognize new born Krishna, or any other god for that matter. But then again… I know as much about Hinduism as I know about quantum physics.
Well, to continue, Nehha and her family treat me like family.
And that is as simply as I can put it. I feel not just accommodated in their house, I feel part of their lives for this such short time. I get to know their daily lives, their life philosophy, the warm way they treat and value each other, always ready to give out a helping hand. They are hard working and as a life-rule, follow what is in their hearts. It has been, in this short time already, an inspiring experiece, leaving me with the feeling that I wish life will give me the opportunity to give back to them or others what they have given me 🙂
Author: Ana Cordeiro – Brave Kids Artist Liaison from 2014. EVS volunteer in Brave Kids in 2014, volunteer in 2013. Born in Lisbon, Portugal, living&working in Wroclaw, Poland.