As I write this blog post I sit aboard flight VS534 to Mumbai. The time left until landing perpetually flashes across the flimsy plastic screen just in front of me. As the nine hours become seven and eventually a two, I am struck by the realization of just how quickly the time has passed, not just on this flight but also since our initial group meetings. It seems like just yesterday we all nervously gathered in Mr. Mundra's home, figuring the trip was four months away. Our initially timid group of Niswarthians has now become close. Fifteen hours of hectic travel really does wonders for group chemistry. As we all sit quietly on the plane, I cannot help but think this is the calm before the storm. Going from a warm summers day in Ohio and the glossy duty free labyrinth of Heathrow to the crowded streets of Mumbai, at three in the morning nonetheless, will probably be a jarring transition.
Thinking of the adventures to come brings about a sense of excitement, though the dominant feeling right now is quite simply of exhaustion. In an effort to battle the inevitable jet lag our group has been adhering to the Mumbai sleep schedule. Sleeping on a plane requires an advanced skill set. Thus far in the trip I have seen Niswarthians dawn sprawled sleep positions that would evoke envy from even the most flexible of yogis.
Tomorrow will be our first full day in India. This reality is both daunting and electrifying. I am daunted by the task of having to shed part of my identity. I know that in order to fully appreciate India, I will have to reach out of my comfort zone and shed my own cultural biases. Much of the aspects of the trip that I find daunting are the very same qualities I find exciting. While ridding myself of cultural biases may be unnerving, it also presents the opportunity for me to create an entirely new identity and vantage point.
On this trip I hope to learn how to find the positives in every situation. Not only do I believe this will help in mentally preparing for this trip, but also I imagine it will help as we examine the complex issues of education disparity and poverty within India. Well, that is all for me now. The speaker's chirp has filled the cabin, signaling our decent into Mumbai.
Until next time,