Understanding India: Last Glimpse
The last home we stayed at
I was jarred by India. The culture from root to tip was completely different from what I have known. To see the world is to see life in all of its complexity. I took an observational stance before the plane even took off. I wanted to soak everything up without judgement, accepting that I will not understand everything.
There’s so much that I didn’t even cover in this series that we experienced. Maybe part of the magic is in the moments that I keep to myself. The moments of recognition, surprise and sadness. I would love to describe every room we stayed in, some with geckos scurrying on the walls, some with air conditioning, some with buckets and spigots for showers. We met a swami and we passed an eccentric Buddhist on the street. Mother Mary peeked over hedge rows. Cows crossed the street and ate out of dumpsters. McDonald’s fries are just as good half way across the globe. Laughing with a packed audience at a Bollywood film is incomparable to watching it back home with subtitles on.
This world is a complicated place and through travel I was better able to approach its complexity with an emphasis on humanity. Culture, religion geography may define us, but we are all alive. That’s the thing that matters. So here’s a last glimpse of India, a peek at all the stories I didn’t tell.
|The garden where we ate soup late at night and where I screamed when Austin tossed a frog at me|
|I could only get cell reception at the end of the gate|
|The pink room with air conditioning and a Winnie the Pooh key|
|Views from a roadside restaurant|
|Close-up. Elephants love the fruit|
Teaching us how to climb a tree
We were in India to complete the filming of the documentary Elephants in the Coffee. And now it’s done. It explores the elephant-human conflict that has been happening in India. The coffee you drink has most likely been wandered through by elephants. They are a nuisance to farmers, but also a god in the Hindu belief. You cannot destroy a god. But you can scare it off with crackers and shotgun blasts. The elephant habitat is shrinking. In its place villages and farms have moved in. Elephants walk the same paths they have for hundreds of years, even if houses, crops, or people stand in their way. How could anyone stop them? Electric fences, trenches and steel beams have been used and are being used to keep them out and keep people safe. Nobody wants a god wandering through their crops eating their jack fruit, trampling their livelihood. But a god cannot be stopped.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Around the Coffee Plantation
Elephant Camp Pt. 1
Elephant Camp Pt. 2
King of Cobras
Kuppalli and Kuvempu