20 life lessons I learned in India

India is supposed to be the land of spirituality, where modern men and women are still in connection with their ancient wisdom. Ashrams dot the country every which way and bus loads of well-off foreigners and scraggly backpackers come here for inspiration to find the truth, to open their eyes or escape something back home.

As our time here is coming to an end, I wanted to share what I learned about life in our two and a half months in India, even though none of this “enlightenment” was attained in an ashram, from a guru with a long beard or in exchange for payment. Even for those of us not seeking spiritual attainments, India is rich on lessons.

Here are some of those I am leaving with.

Wedding in Jodhpur

 

1. There is incredible beauty in traditions

2. Without rules and regulations, the rich exploit the poor and share essentially none of their gains.

3.  Don’t take electricity for granted

4. Never believe freely offered information, ask for second, third and if possible, fourth opinion.

5. If people don’t raise their voices, governments will mistreat them until they do

 

A lot of Indian women observe purdah and yet are still unable to stop the high rate of sexual abuse in the community

6. If women don’t raise their voices, men will mistreat them until they do.

7.  Cows make for better street dogs.

8. When each person only sweeps filth away from their own space, but nobody actually picks it up, eventually everyone ends up buried in shit.

9.   When not explicitly forbidden to, men urinate everywhere.

10. Despite a lot of chest bashing, America doesn’t know anything about entrepreneurship.

 

Businesses of all sizes can be found in every nook and on every corner of Indian streets

 

11. When something is forbidden, people always find a way around it

12.When money is not involved, people are nicer, more generous and open.

13.  “Where are you from?” and “What is your name?” are rarely innocent questions

14. If you find something interesting, you should go and look at it. If you see someone interesting, you should go and talk to them.

15. Life can be ugly. No. Even uglier than that

 

On the streets of Delhi

 

16. Life is not fair

17. The untouchables of this world, cannot be anything they want,  Mr. and Mrs. Inspirational Speakers

18. People are cheap and dispensable

19. Life is better with a band

20. Deep-seeded and devoted  religion does not make for a better life by any measure

A dip in the "pool of immortal nectar" of the Golden Temple, Amritsar