I must confess that even though I always look on the bright side of things, sometimes it’s impossible not to be disappointed by the negative aspects.
This is how I felt when I traveled to India, a country which is difficult to understand to a certain extend. I discovered a fascinating India in terms of tourist attractions, culture and traditions, but also a shocking one when it comes to living conditions. There is a very strong contrast between poverty and wealth in India. Even though the country is blessed with one of the most extravagant buildings in the world, it is also the house of so many shacks.
Considered the second most populous country in the world, India is home to more than a billion people. The sad truth behind this huge number of people is the fact that over 80 percents of them live in poverty.
Despite the fact that my experience in India was a great one, there are a few shocking aspects about this country that I would like to mention:
Even though I got to India at night when the streets were not so crowded, the first thing I noticed about this country was its chaotic traffic. A lot of vehicles, rickshaws, bicycles and scooters gave me the feeling of a continuous chaos. This chaotic image is exacerbated by the multitude of people who are all the time in the streets.
Many nice things have been written about India, but the truth is that it is a very dirty country. Despite its many nice aspects, the strong contrast between the poor and the rich areas is quite surprising. Indians know that tourism is a source of high income and this is why the tourist attractions and the public spaces are very clean. Even so, I had the feeling that everything in India was covered by a layer of dust and dirt.
The unpleasant smells are hard to bear in India. For example the markets where you can buy street food are a challenge a few people can overcome. Indians do not respect any hygiene rule when they cook. For example I was shocked when I saw a woman kneading the dough on her legs. It goes without saying that I didn’t try street food and that I don’t recommend it.
When it comes to Indian cuisine, it is known that India is the country of spices. Even if it might seem interesting to taste different spices and flavors, Indian food is not for everybody. I must confess that after trying a few local dishes I can definitely say that I’m not a fan of Indian food. In a nutshell, Indian food was not a pleasant experience for me.
The public transport is other disappointing aspect about India. Despite being very dirty and crowded, the buses also have broken chairs and windows. They seem to fall apart. Fortunately we had a modern coach at our disposal and I had only one contact with the Indian public transport. In order to get to a fortress we had to take a special bus, which had a similar appearance with the ones used for public transport. I spent only 10 minutes on that bus and although they were mostly tourists around me, these were the longest 10 minutes of my life.
India is also a very polluted country. The air was so suffocating, that I felt there were moments when I could not breathe. During our last day in India, when we were trying to get to the airport, the city was covered by smog. A few days later we read that this was the moment when the level of pollution had reached the critical point. We felt relieved that this thing happened at the end of our trip.
Besides pollution, food and drinking water are other two major problems in India. A lot of people worry about their daily food and water. I will always keep in my mind the image of people gathered around a tanker, who were trying to fill plastic containers with drinking water. This could be a lesson for all of us who should learn to appreciate the little things in life like waking up in the morning and having running water to brush our teeth and shower.
Last but not least, the images with people who live in improper conditions are really shocking. The moment you realize how hard their life is, you start appreciating what you have even more. There were people who were simply sleeping under the open sky, surrounded by garbage and starving children who are screaming for a piece of bread.
Words are not enough to describe the negative side of India, but I’m sure that the following pictures will do a better job.