India Images

Indian distribution system

(Dana) 70% of the population of India lives in villages and towns. That is 900 million people living outside the cities.

We are sitting in our bus passing countless villages along the way. Images fly by. Each seems like a National Geographic photo waiting to be taken. But if we stop each time, we’ll never get from point A to point B.

We feel as if we’re looking back in history – people living like they have for ages, although with the modern additions of electricity and cable TV. Each village seems remarkably alike, whether home to 2,000 or 20,000.

A running list of sights and experiences:

  • Rutted bumpy roads jolting us out of our seats on “highways”
  • Dozens of travelers packed into and on top of jeeps, tuk tuks, buses
  • Motorbikes transporting up to a family of 5 (their minivan)
  • Houses ranging from dung and stick huts with thatched roofs to two-story cement structures – all with satellite dish
  • Fields with no large machinery, just hands for planting and harvesting (we even tried our hand in harvesting wheat)
  • Old men in turbans and dhotis squatting around shops kibitzing or maybe conducting business
  • School children in clean but worn school uniforms walking kilometers to school
  • Post-adolescent boys in tight jeans, on motorbikes, with mobile phones, giving us their best James Dean
  • Women in colorful saris dotting the green fields or carrying loads of firewood, water or groceries on their heads and infants in their arms (clearly the real workers in this society)
  • Fruits and vegetables loaded on carts
  • Vendors of fried snacks with vats of boiling oil
  • Barbers in small shacks offering 20 rupee haircuts ($0.50)
  • Government installed wells provide ground water for drinking, cooking, laundry, bathing and washing water buffalos right on the roadside
  • Oxen-powered, gear-enabled bucket systems irrigating the fields
  • People squatting in fields and by roadsides in lieu of loos
  • Sacred cows wandering the streets or tied up in yards, sometimes straying into the road, bringing our bus to a screeching halt
  • Piles of dung patties from said cows to be used for heat and cooking fuel
  • Kids whose family cannot afford to send them to school (even though education is free) waving to us
  • Pigs, goats and dogs snuffling through garbage piles
  • Camel carts for those who cannot afford tractors
  • Blacksmith families living as gypsies on carts because in 1550 the community vowed to live like their king who was on the run from Moghul invaders
  • Trash everywhere as plastic bags proliferate the world
  • And perhaps the biggest issue, people everywhere.

India is a population of 1.3 billion, adding 20 million people every year. Although we have encountered only kind people with warm smiles, there are so many people in so many
towns. It is hard to imagine how the country’s resources will be able to handle the continued growth. We sincerely hope that they figure everything out.

As Greg said in his first post on Delhi, India is an explosion for the senses. Visually, our bus trips have certainly confirmed that. I have loved this experience.

Walking to school

No supermarkets

Fried snacks

Barber, 50 cent haircut

Sacred cows

Cow patty fuel

Local transport

Everyone has satellite

Wide load

Typical town street

The muslim influence

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2 Responses to “India Images”

  1. Fabulous photos and descriptions! You made a great decision to invest a full month to see both highlights and backroads of India. The blogs about India from the 6 Explorers have been superbly written and richly detailed. Congratulations on a blockbuster visit filled with extraordinary memories.

  2. hi dana,

    thank you so much for the wonderful holi photographs you took of me and karen! it was indeed a gift and inspiration meeting you and your family. remember, if and when the 6 explorers find themselves in our neck of the woods, there will be 2 friends waiting to welcome them!

    continued good health and best wishes to all of you!