5 star hotel vs real Indian life in a village
It was one of those many days at the gallery when I had a feeling that I experienced at least 2 days in one day with too many emotions for such a short period.
We all finished work earlier at the gallery because we were invited to one of the colleague son’s birthday who turned 4. He was throwing a big party for family and colleagues. He lives in a village which is 1,5 hours drive from Jaipur.
Before leaving Jaipur we had a meeting in one of the high end hotels. The hotel exhibits our paintings in their lobby. The hotel was very glamorous and very clean (which is refreshing after dirty Indian streets and most places). Huge lobby, extremely professional staff, beautiful garden with a swimming pool, marble floors.
We had a quick meeting there and drank spiced tea with milk. After that we picked up the rest of our colleagues and went to the village.
It was very interesting to watch outside the window while passing other villages. India really is all about bright colors! When we arrived at the colleague’s house, the reality finally hit me! I finally stepped out from my illusions and selfish thoughts about me in India. There were fields all around and his house was in the middle, with few trees around. The house itself had a few walls and a roof. No windows, no doors. There were beds also outside the house.
5 star hotel vs real Indian life
This was the moment when I experienced the contrast land India as I was recently sitting in 5* hotel, drinking tea and chatting about upcoming opening party.
Our colleague greeted us and we took a seat. We had to wait for the birthday boy, as he was somewhere away in the village. The whole family started to show up. There were women, men, children and a very old, thin man, dressed in white clothes lying in his bed outside all the time while we were there. They are a huge family. Everyone kept looking at us and it gave us a bit of uneasy feeling.
Me and my colleague needed a toilet so we were ready just to go in the bushes somewhere in the field. Sangeeta didn’t let us go alone and I had the first escorted toilet experience. Our driver drove the car deeper in the field and parked to cover us despite the darkness. Afterwards he drove us back to others. That was one of the silliest luxury services I have ever had!
Finally the birthday boy came so we gave him presents and wished happy birthday. He was so scared and I guess he was scared of us as we looked so different from Indians. He didn’t take the gifts, he didn’t say anything. Sangeeta tried to calm him down and after a while he took presents but he still looked so confused. We got the table served where only a couple of our staff were sitting. The whole family and few other colleagues took their seats away on the ground. Men and women sat separately. We ate traditionally cooked Indian food. It was pretty spicy and I’m so surprised how good I could handle it as I’m very sensitive to spicy food.
Women brought to show us 1,5 months old baby girl. There were around 10 women standing in front of us and proudly showing a tiny girl. I’m not a fan of kids and they cannot affect me emotionally. But at that moment I felt tears in my eyes. It was because of everything I was experiencing around me. I felt too many emotions at once, compassion, shock and other emotions I cannot even explain but I was really moved. Luckily it was dark so I was able to hide my tears as it would be inappropriate to cry. Mainly because all the people were so happy. Women were all smiling, proudly offering to hold us the baby.
5 star hotel vs real Indian life
All the birthday event was a big celebration. Boy had a birthday cake, he blew out a candle, we sang him a song and fireworks followed at the end!
I realized how much happier this whole family is comparing to few well situated people I got to know in India. I have read this fact several times from other travelers who have been in India but once I saw it myself, I understood it and it affected me a lot! People who don’t even have a normal house, just some walls and a roof, who work physically hard every day, especially women – they truly appreciate everything they have. Their values are only about family, love, peace and kindness. Now any problem I have ever had in my life seems nothing compared to what I saw today. Except it’s me who have problems every day, not them. They live happily and cherish every day. It was a true honor to be a part of this birthday party.