I could not believe that I’m finally back to Leeds, sleeping on my own bed and having home cooked food once again. It has been really fascinating not just for the students and the teachers but for me to see India on my own! Two months have literally flied passed but all the things that I have been through will stay!
During one time, I went to the marine beach in Chennai and there were like four small kids pulling my short and shirt and begging hard for money. The shirt pulling has never happened to me before, not in Bombay, and not in Chennai so far. I was feeling really hopeless as I’m not sure whether to push them away, or surrender some changes or just run. Even though they are just asking for some changes, but the meanings behind this are huge as the children are being used as money makers. Their parents do not love their children and they give birth to as many children as possible in order to maximise income. It is very upsetting seeing that they are born to become beggars in the street and the poverty cycle continues. The issue of poverty has becoming a very important subject matter to the whole of India. In order to reduce poverty, long term investment on primary/secondary education is important but in short term, economic growth will enable to lift millions out of poverty immediately, as seen from the Gujarat state.
Rather than going onto too much detail on fundamental economic issues on here, however, for once, I have been questioning about economic growth in the society. Surely, Indians are getting richer which must be a good thing, but being rich can have a damaging effect to the Indian culture. Some people are solely aiming for the process of making money and the ancient traditional values such as hospitality and being kind to each others are fading away gradually. Even man’s traditional outfit in South India such as the lungi are being replaced by western clothing like short. Hearing about arranged marriage and different religions from Tamilians has been an eye opener for me as the younger generations are more open minded about the Western concepts on dating and marriage, especially when they come from different religious families. I have never really thought about these issues before, but I start to appreciate and respect their distinct viewpoint. And through this way, I’m able to connect with them closer and understand more about the values that they hold within the society.
During these past two months, it has given me a lot to think about and it feels that I have just scratched the surface of India. I am leaving India with more questions than answers. It has been an incredible journey and really satisfying. I have made friends that I will be keeping in touch for life, and I have gained new skills that can be applied to anything that I’ll do in future. Thank you to WAM foundation, Musee Musical and the people that I have met, it has been an unforgettable experience.