Children who are born in India are lucky. Why, you might ask? There are so many challenges there, malnutrition, lack of basic sanitation for 50% of population, trash, and lack of meaningful work. Yes, of course those are true, but there are other things much more obscure that seem to make a difference. It took a while for me to even begin to understand and try to articulate this. And I have come to the conclusion that is a combination of factors that work to provide what I will call stability for want of a better word.These children know from where they and their families come as history is ever present in architecture, and the 22 different dialects spoken in the country. They all will be born into a family with a strong faith system, probably Hindu, but also Muslim, Christian, Sikh or Buddhist. India is known as the most spiritual country in the world. I have told tales of the divisions in these faith systems and those are sad, but day to day all seem to live and work peacefully side by side.
The next element that is a blessing to the children is the strong presence of family, both nuclear and extended. The children learn to work, respect others, relate to others, and they feel loved by at least one of the many people with whom they live. They don’t come home to an empty house or eat at a quiet, lonely table.
Lastly, I think that celebrations that are continuously happening, secular, religious, one or the other, dancing and singing just make an air of joy even in the midst of poverty. There is a hope that is filling the air now for a better life after the 2014 elections. Each Indian stands in line for hours to vote and feels strongly that it is a right and responsibility as well as a duty in the world’s largest democracy, not just for the rich and educated but for all. On election day , they all equal.
My husband and I talked about this wonderful spirit that seemed to surround us in India. He is all about architecture and touring but the people really made a positive impression on him. His thoughts agreed with me on this one. These are precious happy, gentle people who get so much joy from simple things like dancing in the streets, throwing powdered dye at each other to celebrate Holi in the spring, and watching the sky filled with kites. Just like they have adapted to life in slums,they have found simple yet lovely things to enrich their lives . They find joy in little things. . . . .so do the children.
This Is Incredible India!