I have always had a passion for India. Even now, after having lived and worked there, that passion hasn’t changed one bit. If anything I feel more and more like India is my second home.India is not for everyone. It is an extreme place. Travelers to India even can be divided into 2  extremes, either they love it to bits or they hate it to their core.

India, Indian culture, Indian people, there is something so special, unique and addictive about it all. And India has taught me so many valuable life lessons.

Be patient

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On the street of Delhi, Pahar Ganj

I think the best lesson India can teach any foreigner is to be patient. Everything takes its time. A cow might just show up in the middle the street and you will have to wait for it to pass. Someone says they will come at this time but actually they will come 2 hours later. Always set aside a whole day to do any kind of paperwork because it might take A LOT longer than you have expected. Waiting is a common practice. Waiting for people, for the bus, for things to get done, pretty normal! I have experienced it all. you name it.

However, after all that, I have learned to be really calm and patient and eventually, I got used to the “Indian Stretching Time”. Indians perceive time differently, like a never ending circle. A day ends, another starts. If you didn’t do your work today, you have tomorrow as it is a new start. In fact, in Hindi, “tomorrow” and “yesterday” is the same word. You have to be patient if you want to survive in India!

Respect other religions

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Khajuraho, A complex of Hindu temple, widely known as “Karma Sutra temple” and famous for its ancient architecture and erotic sculptures and statues

“India is a country in which every great religion finds a home.”
Annie Besant

This is really true. In India, people really respect your religion and all religions pretty much live in peace. In fact, Indians find it really weird if you are an atheist, like how can you not believe in any kind of god??? And most of all, those religions exist in harmony. In a small town where I used to live in India, there were Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus,  Christians and Silks all living in peace.

Actually one of the reasons India really amazes me is their religious devotions. Indians hold really strong belief in their religions and are real royal devotees. However, because of their strong devotion, conflicts sometimes are inevitable. But from what I have seen, seldom does it occur. All religions really exist in peace and actually, in occasions of big festivals in major religions, it will be a national holiday for everyone. India is truly unique and diverse in its own ways and religion is like a core identity to India. And I think I have been and will always be amazed and intrigued by their religions.

Live simply

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A house in Rajasthan

In India, poverty and destitute are rampant and visible. Maybe because of that, people learn to live simply with not much possessions or conveniences. In many places, people still maintain their traditional lifestyles. Like people wash their dishes with ashes or sand instead of chemical detergent. Even life is hard, people learn to be grateful.

During my time in India, I have really learned to appreciate the simple things in life, admire the beauty of nature and found my connection to mother Earth. I have learned to enjoy the moments and I realized I really don’t need much to live a happy fulfilled life.

Embrace the chaos – Expect the unexpected

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Along Ganges river, Varanasi

India is a chaotic place in every way but at the same time, everything has its order and hierarchy. It is always beautiful and dazzling for me to admire the chaos. At the same time, I learned not to have expectations of anything because things always turn out not as I expected. To me, it has grown into something like a philosophy of life.

We go through ups and downs in life, and we always make plans and have expectations and put pressure on ourselves. But if we can just learn to embrace all the storms and chaos in our lives, to admire the mess of life, we will become a lot more mindful, compassionate and grateful for what we have and all the experiences we are going through. Ups or downs, good or bad, life is a beautiful mess. We just have to change our perspective to see it.

Open your mind and heart

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Delhi Haat

I have heard a lot of stereotypes and judgements against India and Indian culture. For example, it is dangerous to travel alone as a female, or India is dirty and poor and all. I came to India being fearful at times because of what people told me. But India has proved me wrong. I have met so many nice strangers that helped me along the way. I have had so many wonderful experiences. As I open my mind and heart and stop judging, India fills me up with its breathtaking landscapes, mesmerizes me with its diverse cultures and amazing cuisine, and warms my heart with its people’s hospitality and so so much more.

Four principles of spirituality

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Indians have four principles of spirituality:

  1. Whomsoever you encounter is the right one.
  2. Whatever happened is the only thing that could have happened.
  3. Each moment in which something begins is the right moment.
  4. What is over, is over.

Sometimes in life you might have asked: “Why me?”, “Why did I meet this person and not another?”, “Why did this happen to me?”, “Who am I and why am I me?”. All this philosophical questions might take a lifetime to even understand, let alone answer. What is important is we love ourselves, love people, and embrace whatever might come. Because each and everyone you meet, every moment and experience that you go through, it all makes you who you are and it is the right thing. Embrace it and live a happy life.

All pictures are credited to me.  All rights reserved.

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Posted by:Hanh Lam

I am a young Vietnamese woman with a passion for development work and social change, a desire to explore the world and a love for storytelling.

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