Thursday, October 22, 2009

What India Teaches Me

In the two short months I have been in India, I have learned so much, and yet I still feel so young, so unknowing, like I am just a child whose eyes have barely opened. I go to the college every day, and I study economics, psychology, history, Hindi, and other varied classes, but I don't feel like I absorb very much there. I try and learn other things, outside of college - I have a yoga class at 7:30 in the morning, and I practice rangoli, or sand art, and my neighbor often teaches me mehendi, or henna tattoos. And I learn other things, that I have just picked up in everyday life - I can eat neatly with my hands, I can wear a sari with some semblance of grace, know a few simple words in Hindi and Marathi, I am beginning to understand Hinduism, I can manage adequately in everyday life without too many social blunders. But these are not the important things I am learning here. India is a great teacher, and if you can be a willing student, your education will never end.
I learn to be patient, to sit quietly and wait, for hours sometimes. I learn to be quiet, because often, people do not have enough English to have a conversation with me. I learn to watch, because it is the only way I can understand, and I learn to listen, because if I do not pay attention, I will miss the important things. I learn stillness, in my mind and my body, so that I might learn meditation. I am learning peace, and understanding, and a deeper happiness than I thought I would obtain here in India. I am learning joy in the small things - I can confidently cross the road, I can argue with a rickshaw driver, I can write my name in Hindi, I can, I can, I can. I am learning positive thinking, and detachment from what frustrates me. I am learning simplicity. I have come nowhere close to perfecting these things, and I am sure I never will, but already I feel that I am changing. Here in India, I am a different person than I ever was at home. And right now, I am not sure that this me would last in the US, where frustration, depression, and impatience run wild, but I hope that by the time I have to return, this new me is more solidly a part of me, so that I can continue to grow in this new direction.


  1. Reading your blog gives me goosebumps. What an amazing, life-changing, spirit-building experience!

  2. Another dimension of this year that you can't imagine now, is carrying this transformation in inner/outer life into the next chapters of your life. You will never have the same combination of routines that you have now, but you will always be able to view the world and its actions by the filter of India. You'll understand this when you've been back in the states for a while. Keep soaking it in for now.

  3. I am so happy you're there Ruby. This is incredible! You are learning sooooo much, you lucky ducky! I hope you're having the time of your life, and I'm sure you are. How could you not be? So happy for you!

  4. It is so great to see a person your age doing something like this. It's provide an excellent, 'real life' education, something that can only be found when traveling abroad.

    My husband and I want our children to receive this type of education. As a result, we've taken them to live in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

    Our next move is to the state of Tamil Nadu, India, so it's great to read about your experiences there. We can't wait for our adventure to begin. We'll be sharing our experiences too

    Way to go!