The Two Sides of India

Nancy - Waukesha, Wisconsin
Entered on April 27, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: place

During our trip to India, there were many different interesting things that I saw which intrigued me. There was one occasion in particular though, when I noticed something as we were driving down the road that in a way sums up the country of India. As we were driving down the road one day, I looked out the left window of our bus and, I saw what seemed to be a well-established city. There were many tall buildings, cars driving around, and people looking busy. When looking out the right window however, I saw what to me was the exact opposite of what I had just seen to my left. On this side, there was dust everywhere, many people walking around without shoes on, beggars on the side following our bus, cows lying around, and donkeys being used as transportation means. Although these two scenes were completely different, the juxtaposition of them in my mind was the best description that anyone could have of India: two completely different worlds placed right next to each other.

The side of India that everyone knows and hears about was the side seen through the left window. The side that is economically thriving and industrialized. India is no longer completely dependent on agriculture. With outsourcing and offshoring becoming popular due to the increased efficiency and therefore increased profits for companies, there are many IT centers to be found around India. The people working there are all pretty well off, and seem to be enjoying their daily life at work. Yet again who wouldn’t with places like Infosys and Satyam which have beautiful facilities, many times including things such as a zoo, swimming pool, or gym on the site so that their workers can enjoy their leisure time with their families and friends there on the weekends. This is the side of India that is constantly being written about for its continuously consistent high economic growth is not something that people expected any third world country to undergo this quickly fifty years ago.

Through the right window, was the larger but yet the least publicized side of India. This side consists of people on the roads begging as their living. The many people that still depend on agriculture for their living, and can not afford the luxury of a car, therefore they use the old fashion way of transport: animals such as donkeys. At this point in our trip, we had been visiting IT centers and hadn’t really seen the “other half” of India, so it was a great reminder about what the majority of the people there live like. Most of India is made up of agriculture and dusty roads, not beautiful resort-like facilities surrounded by palm trees.

This juxtaposition is what really made India stand out to me. There are not very many places where you see these two completely different scenes being so close to each other, and people act like it is completely normal. The fact that these two scenes were placed next to each other in many ways made me feel uncomfortable. It was weird to be in a place whose recent prosperity has been widely publicized, and finally be able to see this prosperity first hand, but at the same time be presented with exactly the opposite situation and know it’s the more common of the two. Despite this, however, this was one of my favorite moments that I had in India. The fact that a place like that exists is in a way mind blowing, and it made me become very interested in the country.