India is one of the most beautiful places I have ever taken pictures of. Since the moment I arrived I began to take notice of the people, architecture and style of life. India, like most places bound by tradition, is a canvas of beauty and flaws. However this proved to be what I find is most captivating about being/ taking photos in India. When I look out the bus window it looks like a movie flashing before my eyes ( too fast to take photos), but when I step onto the narrow sidewalks of Old Delhi, I feel comfortable and confident with my camera in my hands. It is a process of taking in the scenery around me first and snapping quick photos of anything that I find intriguing, which thus far has been people. I believe that photography is a way to transport people who have yet to have this experience into my space and experience in the land of colorful food, people, fabrics and animals. Every view of India is personal and unique, and everyone seems to have a contribution when they hear “Hey, I’m going to India!”, but since there are 23 other students on this trip that will tell you how beautiful the people are, how bad the smell, or how watching the sunrise at the top of a mountain while drinking chai tea with monks was an absolute breathtaking experience is, I would like to take this opportunity to express how unbelievably impressed I am with my classmates. India is beautiful, but it is a country bound by tradition and culture, and as a Westerner, not the easiest place to adapt. We are not simply on Spring break, and many will agree that we see just as much ugly as we do beautiful. Some have been been sick with a twenty four hour ” don’t drink the water” virus and others have been exposed first hand to the harsh role of women in an extremely patriarchal society, yet we keep moving on. There have been too many experiences that we will never have again that have shown us how amazing this place truly is, and it definitely overpowers the uncomfortable bits. I can’t believe how a group of 17/18 year olds are taking on such a culture shock with such incredible enthusiasm.
Every time I open my eyes I tell myself “wow, can you believe your in India?” And my answer is always no; India has been the most surreal experience: it is a place that will make you feel a natural high by just walking down the street or looking out a train window. I have been asking myself different versions of this questions even before I left I use to say “Wow, I’m leaving for India in a week, can you believe it?” And my answer than was no; I thought this was because I was too worried about school work before I left, but I have come to the realization that no one can be “ready” to go to India. It is the most other worldly experience compared to living in New York. Everything in India excites and intrigues me; when I look out the window I am in pure awe. India is known for Bollywood but it should be known for how it’s reality is like a movie. Almost everything in India is different from what I am use to; from the food to politics to landscape, music, animals, dress, work ethic, religion and daily life. I always used to think of what India was like in my head. Before I left I knew there would be poverty and it would be hot and everything would not be what I think is normal- this preliminary thought was true but nothing compares to living and breathing India.
By Denise Garcia