I got back from India, after a 20 hour journey, at 1850 Christmas Eve. Right away I got home, changed into Western Clothes, and headed out to the town centre to meet some friends for a meal. It's a good friend's birthday, and the practice of heading out each Christmas Eve is now well ingrained. I'd have written this post last night, but having got back from the meal at 2230 local time (0300 body-clock time) I went right to bed.
One of the things that has really hit me about my recent trip has been the amount of negative feedback that I've had because of it. It began on this blog, and practically every aspect of my trip has been slighted. It hit me pretty hard before I went out there, but I chose to ignore it.. but after coming back, knowing the conditions and what I was able to do out there, it cuts close to the bone.
I've kept a fairly detailed record of what I did in India, scribbled using pencil and notepad provided by the hotel. I'm not sure how I want to release the 'diary' when I've finished it. My intial and only thought was to release it as a blog - but it'd be far too long. I've thought about a serialized blog - but I don't want to spam the planet. I think I'll end up with close to 50,000 words if I write it up properly, there's just so much for me to say.
One thing that I can attest to though, is that there's no way any western person can possibly empathize with the situation in India without seeing it first hand. What we read in the press, and on the news, and in 'The Economist' about India being a new major economic power may be true - but it's still a developing country. The water comes out of the tap with a brown tint - there's no weekly refuse collection, refuse is burned at street corners - and people piss and poo at the edge of the street. It's not that they have a choice, it's the current level of development.
I really want to go back to India soon. I want to go back long-term. I don't count myself as some kind of Saviour of the people - but in comparison to sitting at a keyboard all day, the work I've done over there is far more rewarding. The people are the friendliest bunch I've had the pleasure to know - and the kids that I helped to look after are so grateful. It was great to help them, and to gain their friendship.