As I sit to write my blog from India I find it both easy and hard to do all at the same time. The images and memories all come rushing back at me together and it becomes easy for me to get lost in them.
India was both amazing and depressing. The people were incredibly polite and nice, always going out of their way to make us feel welcome and at home. The hotel staff bent over backwards making sure we had everything we need, even keeping the bar open passed closing time so we could continue having fun. Our travels had us out at all hours of the day and night, and although I only saw a few police officers, I always felt safe. The history and beauty of the buildings was breath taking, the Taj Mahal, Humayaun’s Tomb and the Lotus Temple were incredible.
For all of the beauty that India has there’s also a sadness to it. You can’t account for the poverty that you come across constantly. The begging that you encounter will break your heart but unfortunately you have to harden yourself to it. A mother carring a naked baby followed us for three or four blocks asking for money and as much as we wanted to, we new that we couldn’t give her any and that was hard to do. On one of our bus trips we were headed down this road and there was a beach on one side of us and for lack of a better phrase a ghetto on the other, it was a surreal looking out the windows at complete opposites.
What I will remember most though is the time spent with my classmates. Sitting at JFK with Joe, Amanda, Dave and Cathy, the excitement of our journey in front of us, toasting our trip while waiting for our plane. Smoking cigars, drinking and telling stories in the hotel bar. Wandering the streets, taking in all the sights and sounds while I was almost run over twice. Finding a Cricket batting cage where Joe was able to take a swing at it. Being at the Taj Mahal with Chris in his Superman shirt and the look on the small child’s face when the parents made her take a picture with him. Shopping and negotiating the cost of everything. Harsal haggling prices from the bus with someone selling their wares on the street. Amanda, Cathy and I sitting next to each other on the plane home, barely speaking for 13 hours and all of us being fine with that.
Lastly I would like to thank Gautam for acting as a tour guide and making the trip truly enjoyable. I wouldn’t have made it without all of your help, so thank you one more time.—Jim Agostino