India has the capability to wear one down. The unabating noise, traffic, pollution, dust, dirt and just the sheer number of people aside, I often find myself having to disregard my human side and to operate in a quasi-animal mode of existence which is hard work to maintain when it is forced. Whether it be barging the hoards of senseless boarding passengers when alighting from the metro, fending off and shouting above crowds of competitors in any normal queuing scenario, steaking claim to one’s reserved train seat or forcing one’s way across the hazardous roads, daily life in India often demands a degree of ruthlessness in order to function effectively. In short I do miss the order, peace, politeness, silence and common courtesy which prevails in the west and which we take for granted actually.
However, this morning I had an enlightening and inspirational moment when out shopping for fruit at the local market in search of an alternative breakfast to the overly spicy, salty and oily concoctions of the canteen. I was struck by the beauty and vibrancy of the moment, the colours, the sounds, the morning light, the vendors’ arrangements of fruit and vegetables and the way people were conducting their business.
The market was buzzing and so very alive. Wondering through the market, taking in what’s on offer, everything felt so organic, natural and real, contrary to the western supermarket experience which is so dull, artificial and in which we become like robots and zombies!
One of the things which, I feel, really draws people to India is that feeling of being alive! Here you can’t help but be more intimately connected to what you’re buying.
These pictures may be quite striking but how much more real to see the chicken being slaughtered just before you buy it rather than picking a plastic wrapped pink piece of flesh from a supermarket fridge!