The Price of Admission

India makes you pay for it's magic.

For a pampered westerner, conditions can seem distinctly uncomfortable, and at times downright appalling.

Life is very in-your-face here. It's noisy and very crowded. Especially in the cities, you feel a little pushed and jostled everywhere you go. You can't count on electricity being available; I can think of few things I took for granted more than the power always being there. Eat or drink the wrong thing, and you'll be out of commission for days. Some of the insects can kill you.

I don't even know what to say about the grinding, miserable poverty I've seen... Simply beyond belief that people have live like that.

Although the drivers appear confident and competent, going out on the road feels risky, very risky. Walking on narrow city streets with motorcycles, auto-rickshaws, and cars flying by, horns blaring, feels positively dangerous.

And it's filthy; there's just no sugarcoating that fact. Waste water flows in open drains at the edge of the street. Animals are everywhere; the condition of the street dogs will break your heart, and of course cows famously have free run of the entire country. Garbage is freely strewn in the streets, and piles of shit are everywhere, mostly from the cows. It's now totally obvious to me why Indians make such a big fuss about removing shoes when you come inside.

And yet... Exactly when I think I can't take any more and am ready to get the next flight home, I see or experience something so utterly sublime that all the negatives simply fall away.

It's just the price of admission.

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