Back home - lasting impressions of India...
My initial thoughts on arriving home were, 'I LOVE how clean my bathroom is!' The hotels in Delhi were much the same. So many of them had dirty sheets with stains on them that could have been anything. Let your imagination run wild there a minute. Luckily, I checked every bed and made them change the sheets if they were'n't satisfactory.
Running hot water is sooo good too. It's great being able to have a lovely hot bath in the morning to help with pain relief. Sleeping in my own bed is ace too.
The lasting impression that India left on me is one of a country whose infrastructure relies on child labour. I still can't get over the filth of Delhi and the smell. I'm sat here wondering what would happen to the economy of the country if the element of child labour was made illegal and withdrawn. I saw children as young as 4 and 5 years old working all day, selling things like wool and trinkets. The levels of poverty in the country make the woes of the homeless and unemployed in the UK pale by comparison. Our people in this 'civilised' country are spoilt. You can see the hardships individuals have faced etched on every line of their faces in India. Some of the faces smile but they eyes don't join in and hold a secret that cannot be shared by voicing the experiences...you have to be there and witness them. Unless you grew up poor in this country in the 60s and 70s, you won't have a clue about poverty..and even then, you'll not have an inkling of what the men, women and children of India experience with regard to poverty or how difficult their lives are in other ways.
The media pays lip service to the abolition of child labour and certain advertisements seem to challenge old attitudes and values..but that's where everything fails. It's a bit like educating people about racism in this country; only the people that are aware will attend such courses and the souls that harbour those issues or live in ignorance of them will not be educated until such subjects are made mandatory and introduced as part of the curriculum of any educational programme. If India wants to change, it's going to have to do a lot more than just put up the odd advert on television stations. For families in some areas it's a matter of survival and having many mouths to feed. So everyone tries to bring in something toward the family pot. How do you sell education to them as an option for their children?
One of the worst aspects of the visit was having to haggle for every single thing you bought in the street. It gets tiring and you get ripped off if you don't haggle. There's a pricing system for locals and a different one for foreigners.
While there are cleaner places to visit than Delhi, a lot of the core problems would prevent me from going to visit India for more photography. My advice would be to avoid Delhi if possible. Oh, if you have any kind of breathing difficulty like asthma, please be sure to buy a filtered mask before going there? You'll need it as the smog is tangible. You'll be wiping it off your skin for days when you get back.