I know I have been terribly neglectful of this blog lately. It's been a month since my last post, the longest gap yet! But rest assured that I have been working hard on my Justmeans blog and have been writing about a lot of things there and now write for two categories - CSR and ethical consumption.
I recently returned from the famous 'Golden Triangle' tour covering Delhi-Agra-Jaipur and it is extremely strange to be a tourist in your own country. Travelling in India is an experience beyond anything that can written about. It is uncommonly hot, difficult, tiring and everything about the place assaults you in a myriad different ways. The kind of tourist attractions it offers is on a gargantuan scale of its own and in many ways pales the rest of the world in comparison.
In the space of 5 days I saw the largest gateway in the world, the Buland Darwaza; the largest sundial in the world in Jaipur; several forts, an entire city of red stand-stone and of course the Taj Mahal. This smorgasbord of sights is difficult to top.
For me, it was also deeply disheartening in many ways. For all the beauty on offer, the monuments in India are dismally maintained. Akbar's tomb in Sikandra which was absolutely gorgeous on the outside was a sad let-down upon entry. The intricately painted walls were peeling and in need of desperate restoration.
The whole city of Jaipur was extremely forlorn in appearance and did not seem at all like a capital city of a large state. The roads were appallingly bad and the rains did not bode well with the ancient sewer systems. The Amber Fort was gorgeous in bits but many of the walls were defaced by visitors and again several areas were in need of maintenance.
I can moan on about the fact that people in India are in desperate need of civic sense which for most part is true but who is to teach this valuable lesson. Without a sense of pride for national treasures how can preservation be insisted upon? Indeed, without civic sense how can environmental consciousness even be comprehended?
We cannot boast of trying to be an emerging super power, our IT prowess, space program etc etc when our basic sense of a civilized society is misplaced. Travelling India filled me with a deep sense of pride and an equally deep sense of shame. I wonder if things are ever going to change for this country so filled with potential and yet so encumbered with blindingly obvious faults.
Photo: Akhila Vijayaraghavan ©