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An Open Thank You Letter To The People of India

Dearest People of India,

 

We write this letter to you to show you the gratitude we have for the many life lessons you have taught us!  We hope this small token of our appreciation will show you how much you have impacted our lives.  

When we created this blog, we did so with the premise that it would be for us. To reflect back on our life and to communicate our travels to those that care to read about it.  We set out to educate others on the joys of traveling and inspire others to do the same.  The blog has changed over the years and we now not only want to inspire others to travel, but to change their perspective on life.  Travel has been that catalyst for change in our own perspective and now, we want to help others open their minds and heart to a world perspective.  By developing a world perspective you gain a perspective on your own life and what role you take in the big picture.  

 

 

The Diversity of The Indian People

Thank You Letter To The People of India

India Bound

We decided to go to India.  The New York, New York (lame reference to Frank Sinatra and "if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" quote) of traveling destinations for many, and a land with an enchanting world history and remarkable monuments and architecture.  We have been many places in the world, and everywhere we have been, has taught us something.  Something about ourselves.  Our perspective consequently has changed as a result of what we have learned.  We knew India would change us too and we were nervously excited to see what this ancient culture would teach us about ourselves.  Not out of fear of negative things we had heard about the country, but because anytime you change in life, it can be a bit scary.  We had heard from our friends some of their experiences in India. Usually, we don't pay much attention to what other say about a place or another person.  In the case of India, we couldn't help but feel, that with all the negatives we heard, there must be some truth to it.  

Our Friends Say No India

While traveling in Southeast Asia in 2011, we met a couple from England.  We became great friends and are still friends today.  We split ways and continued on our journeys in the world, and met back up in Koh Tao, Thailand, after they had been to India.  They told us their experiences in India and they were terrible.  They told us to "skip it".  We met a guy in Thailand the last time we were there in 2016 before going to India, who marveled at the fact we planned on spending 3 months traveling the sub-continent.  We asked him what he thought, and he explained his two month trip there was "work".  When we asked him to expound upon this sentiment, he said it was hard to describe, but traveling in India isn't easy and it feels more like work.  We couldn't understand this statement nor our English friend's perspectives, but still felt as if India would be an experience that is less than gratifying compared to other places we have been in the world. 

 

 

Travel Inspiration

There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage.
Mark Twain, Letter to Will Bowen

Holi In Vrindavan

Thank You Letter To The People of India

Our Experiences In India

When we arrived in India, we knew we wanted to do two things; Celebrate Holi in Vrindavan and see the Taj Mahal.  We booked a one way ticket to Chennai, because it was the cheapest flight from Thailand.  No other plans or expectations.  Once we got to Delhi a couple days later, we really began to understand what our friends were saying about India.  We were not liking India either, and felt as if our trip to India would be a short one.   We were determined not to let Delhi poison our views and we tried to keep an open mind, moving on to Varanasi.  Everything changed for us in Varanasi. We got to Varanasi and met some people who were able to help us understand better the people of India.  From our guesthouse owner Govind (who was Mr. India in bodybuilding) to a traveler who has been in India for nearly a decade and our friend Raj who sold boat tours down on the ghats, we began to understand more about India and ourselves.  We opened our minds and came up with a few sayings:  

1. India punches you in the gut and then gives you a big kiss.  

2. India teaches you a lesson, whether you want it to or not.

3. India is like Chinese handcuffs.   The harder you pull, the tighter the grip.  When you loosen and stop pulling, it releases you.

 

 

Woman In Red at the Taj Mahal

Thank You Letter To The People of India

Places vs. People

Even though we have seen some amazing places in world, it is always the people of that place, that make the biggest impact in our minds and hearts.  India is no exception.  There were times when the Indian people would punch us in the gut, but always returned with a big kiss.  When we pushed against the Indian people, they pushed back. When we relaxed our grip on our fears and prejudices, they released their love upon us.  We learned lessons from them, without looking for a lesson and in times when we were opposed to learning one.  We became better travelers, better students of life and better people.  We grew in our understanding and acceptance of others and their culture.  

Through the Indian people, we opened a little more our minds and released some of our own prejudices.  We realize more than ever, how important it is not to listen to what others say about the places of the world.  One can only say what THEIR experience is.  YOUR experience will be different.  Not that our friend's experiences were not authentic or true, however it is up to you to see it for yourself.  It is up to you to visit the places you always wanted to see.  It is up to YOU to experience the culture through the people of a place, and not just "see the sights", to better understand a country and yourself.  This is to say you need to experience the culture, and India oozes it!

 

 

Thank You From Brady and Shelly - The Indefinite Journey

Thank You Letter To The People of India

Acceptance vs. Tolerance

India has changed us.  We have India to thank for this.  More so, we have the people of India to thank for teaching us more about ourselves than we had ever thought possible.  One major thing we learned from the Indian people... ACCEPTANCE.  Once we opened our eyes and realized that the Indian people accepted us the way we were, we then began to accept the Indian people for the way they were.  Isn't this the goal of the world?  To understand each other?  How many wars would be averted if people would only accept and understand?   The people of the world could learn a lot from the people of India and their widespread acceptance of religion, culture, ethnicity and foreigners.  India is not just tolerant of other religions, they accept them.  India doesn't just tolerate the many unique cultures of the different states of India, they accept them.  India didn't just tolerate two tattooed foreigners traveling through their country, they accepted them. 

Thank You Letter To The People of India

Now, we are posting our experiences in India on social media, and the acceptance and reception of our thoughts have skyrocketed to nearly 1 million views on our social media, over 40 thousand likes, and nearly 100 comments on our blog and more than we can count on social media.  The kindness of the words of our new friends in India, in countless comments across social media, is humbling.  It shows us all over again the amazing gratitude and warm hearts the Indian people have.  

The amazing comments and interactions with our Indian friends on facebook, Quora, Twitter and our Blog have renewed our desire to go back to India, see the places we missed, and meet up with new friends to learn more about the culture and people of India.  Thank you from the deepest parts of our hearts!  India is not the Taj Mahal, Holi, the Golden Temple, the backwaters of Kerala, the Himalayan Mountains, or any of the beautiful places in between.  It's the people! We thank YOU, the people of India, for helping inspire US to be better people and change our perspective.

 

Yours Always,

Brady and Shelly 

The Indefinite Journey

 

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8 thoughts on “An Open Thank You Letter To The People of India

  1. Wow! You nailed it .People experience what they really are from inside. A open heart and clutter free mind with no judgemental approach will bring you good experiences. Thanks for praising our country and really understanding our values and culture and accepting us the way we are .

    1. Shailendra! Thanks for acknowledging it. It is too bad people can’t see the forest through the trees with India. So many people I know and have heard of, just don’t understand how special the Indian people are. All the respect and praise I get on this site, and countless emails from people who just want to help me. Such gratitude. Thanks again!

  2. It takes a foreigner to open our eyes to what we really are. Your use of the word ‘acceptance’ made me reflect on the nature of our people and I realised that you’re right. Born and growing in India, we simply accept one another for what and who we are.

    1. I am very glad I was able to open your eyes to a new thought. It really makes me feel great to know that my writing invokes some level of thinking in this way! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. That were really touching words and that too from a foreigner… Being a Non-Indian you were able to see what some Indians couldn’t see… My favorite place is Haridwar… I would suggest you to go there… You will get the real feel of what Indian culture is about… Many things you know and many more is yet to be discovered… And thanks for this amazing open letter.. 🙂

    1. We went through Hardiwar and flew out of there from Rishikesh. Seemed like a nice place however didn’t get a chance to spend some time there. Seems like we might have missed out. Thanks for coming by and posting! And thank you for the kind words!

      1. You should visit indian union territory – Lashyadweep island ( in it bangaram islands, thinikara islands). Visit Andaman Nicobar islands (in it neil islands, rose islands, havelock islands, Radha Krishna beach, elephant beach etc) they are like Maldives. Snowy himalayas – visit Indian state Leh, Ladhak, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesd, Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir. For Ganga/religious tourism/monastery – Uthrakhand state (Rishikesh), state Himachal Pradesh, state Uttar Pradesh -Varanasi. North East Indian States and Meghalaya – offers nature, greeny lush misty mountains, waterfalls. State Assam is known for animal safari( Kaziranga-elephants, rhino etc). Rajasthan is known for palaces, dessert, tiger safari, monuments and forts. Punjab state is agricultural state and amritsar is known for golden temple. Kerala state offers back water beaches, Munnar mountains, boat house in lake, tree house etc. For monuments – Delhi, bengal, rajastan, UP state. Be cautious while visiting state (Delhi, UP, Bihar) as they are India’s most poorest/ populated states and because it’s close to delhi it affects delhi too. Rest states good to go. Delhi, UP, bihar etc are not india. But a of small “part of endless India”. There are 1000 more cultures in rest part of India that’s total alien to those cultures. India is federal state with 29 states and 7 union territory. Each state has its own cuisine, language, ethnic dress, culture, mix of race and religion. There are 2000 ethnicities/ 900 languages in india. India is multi religious/ethnic/racial country. North Indians are Indo-aryans (causacians) , South Indians are dravidians and North East Indians are pale Mongliod and look chinese. Culture in india changes every 100 km. Stay away from cities, its were majority of India’s work force has migrated/concentrated for jobs. Inland, the majority of India’s land area is in agricultural fields, nature, waterfall and is sparce in people (since all migrated to cities). If you make a trip to india again. Check every indian state /union territory and its tourist places on Google. Visit if you like those. Best time to visit india is “October to jan”. For snow/island beaches best time to visit is “december to jan”. Hope this tips helps. Thanks for visiting my country, stay blessed.

  4. I was directed to your Facebook page from Quora and from there got the link for your blog. Went through few of your posts. I’m really sad that you had a tough time at Delhi. I hope the scammers understand how their actions are creating a bad image about the country.

    Next time you visit India take the help of locals – ordinary people- who would love to take you around. Most Indians are very curious about foreigners and we would love to interact with you and get to know more about the places you are from. I think the trick would be to approach people who are going about their daily work. Those will be the ones least likely to cause trouble. If you were to visit Chennai again, I would be happy to take you around the city on weekends.

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