India's treasure is found amongst the crowds. It has been a while since I traveled through India like a local and today I remembered the warmth I felt when I visited for the first time. There is a certain unspoken kindness in India that sometimes we misunderstand and might take it the wrong way, and you will only notice the kindness when you are not the subject but the victim. In other words when you are the one in need not someone else. Today I felt a little dose of said kindness while unexpectedly taking different routes.
We were in a small town outside of Kullu sourcing our woolens and after a long exciting day exploring textiles we decided to head over to the main square and have some fun with the locals. The festival Dussehra was taking place and we wanted to see it and experience it all! As we needed to make our way to the city center, we waited like we would normally do for an auto rickshaw to pass by, but 10 minutes passed with no luck. While waiting, a local bus stopped to pick up some passengers and we thought we could probably just hop on the bus that had just stopped in front of us if we wanted to get there fast, and so we did. As we were getting on I noticed the bus was packed. We couldn't get passed the entry steps, but yet the controller told us to just get in. We tried to gently squeeze in without pushing or disturbing anyone but it was impossible because it was just too packed and because the bus was moving at a speed that made Sayam and I wave from side to side. It seemed we were the only ones having trouble staying still... It was a struggle, but no one seemed bothered by the constant stepping and accidentally leaning on each other- it was just normal. As the bus kept stopping more and more people were getting on and none were getting off. At one of the stops a mother hopped in with her two children- a 2 year old and a 4 year old. As the mom noticed there was nothing to hold on to for her little ones she tells her little boy while gesturing to Sayam " bhai ka haath pakad lo". which translates to "grab your brothers hand" the boy immediately grabbed Sayams hand and the little girl held on to one of the legs of his pants. I turned to looked down and I couldn't believe it. It was too cute and amazing the sense of comfort it exists amongst them and the unspoken kindness that everyone understands. Side note- in India minors called their elders (bhaia) brothers and if they are old enough to be their parent they called them uncle. And it goes both ways with the girls- sister (didi) and auntie.
We spent our whole day in Kullu watching the celebration of Dussehra. It's an all packed celebrations when they celebrate the good winning over the evil- Ram defeats Ravana. After the parade and having dinner in the town we were ready to head back to the Hotel, and we knew it was going to be tough as everyone from the parade was heading back home as well. We began the hunt for an auto rickshaw with no luck, but after a few minutes an auto rickshaw already with two occupants stopped. As I look inside the auto I see a boy with a huge sac of wheat and another big backpack and an elder gentleman sitting next to him. In my head I thought " uhm very kind of him but I don't see how we will fit.. I mean the sac of wheat is as tall as he is.." Well as Sayam explained the driver where we were headed the driver said "yes" to which the kid carrying the sac of wheat responded by instantly getting out of his seat and moving to the front sit with the driver in a one seater. We took our places and I began to reflect on all the good things that happened today. That gesture highlighted the earlier experience and made me realize that these small things made me smile and made me reflect on my own self. Had we taken a taxi both ways we would have missed this little gestures that in a way keeps us grounded, humble, and together.
Sometimes we take things too serious and in India you can't do that because they are not doing that towards you either. Thats the way they are and despite the chaos it is a beautiful place were you see an abundance of sharing. They share a lot I say to myself many times, but how beautiful is that?
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