India. Coming here is a dream come true...From the age of seven, I have longed to visit India. I don’t know why. I just know I would like to discover this amazing country which is very different from my home country, France.So when I arrived in India, it was an important moment for me. I have seen lot of documentaries and films about India, I have read many stories about this destination, but it was more exciting to put my foot in India! I felt so many emotions … Last year I had spent one month in Indonesia, and I think India is similar— crowded streets, multicolored monuments and buildings, many temples, roaming animals and lush greenery. In both countries, women and men are principally dressed in very warm tones! It seemed an oriental influence, an Asian spirit when I took the taxi in Madurai for the first time. I was surprised not to find a seatbelt in the taxi…in France it’s mandated by law, so it’s as much of a reflex as for me to put my belt on as it is for Indians to toot their horn!Then, I discovered my lovely family, Latha and Mercy. They were so kind and warm to me, I’m very lucky to meet them. And I find Indian people generally smile a lot.In the West, India is famous as a destination where some tourists are shocked or troubled by the differences in culture. For me it wasn’t a shock. I’m just touched and happy to be here. Maybe because I always wanted to go in India, I don’t know. And what’s more, the sun is here! For French nationals like me, it’s a treat in December!I think Madurai Messenger will bring me good knowledge of journalism as a career, but I’m sure India will be a wonderful experience for myself and a good means to open my spirit, again and again!
I tried to have realistic expectations of India. I researched on theweb, read articles, assessed the political climate and learned all Icould about the history, customs and culture of these beautiful people.Armed with all of that knowledge, I felt responsibly prepared and evenshed a few tears of momentary reluctance when I boarded the plane. WasI ready for the stifling heat? Was a ready for cold showers and swarmsof mosquitos? What about laundry? I had never handwashed a load ofclothes in my life. Mentally, I was preparing for a rough ride.
But the moment I saw Amma's smile beaming at me from the front porchof my new host home, my apprehension melted away into memory. Amma'scontagious laugh and open demeanor filled my heart with warmth andsuddenly I was glad I had come. Yes, I was an all-day buffet for themosquitos. Yes, doing laundry for the first time in buckets rubbed myknuckles raw. My body didn't acclimate well either. I spent more thatone night writhing with a fever, nausea, cold sweats and the worststomach ache I've had in my life. Yet with all of those mishaps, Irecall many times walking, drenched in sweat to and my my projecthospital, with my heart so elevated with joy, I thought perhaps Iwould stay forever.
Amma's home has become my home. I retreat there with joy in theevenings and greatly enjoy every meal we get to share together. Ournighttime card games, together with our Auto driver are filled withlaughter and multi lingual conversations about every and nothing. Ihave lost a little of my heart to India and its people.Even though we maybe share 15-20 words in each others languages, thefriends I have made and the relationships I have cultivated with thenurses and staff of Booma hospital is something I will cherish in myheart forever.
I am not sure if there ...
Salome Fleur Becker believes that India has to be experienced—something that she discovered as she tries to explain the enigmatic beautiful country that already feels like a second home, to her family and friends back home in GermanyHaving arrived in Madurai and lived here for several days now, I tried to explain to my friends and family back in Germany in the city of Freiburg im Breisgau about life in India.
I was confronted with a big problem when I tried to send them a really detailed description. It is not easy to describe an environment which is totally different from everything you experienced before. How should I tell them about the scent of the spicy food which is cooked at the roadside hotels? How could they imagine the lively traffic chaos, as they’ve never seen people driving on the wrong lane, using the horn even more than the gas pedal because it is the only rule everyone is obeying? And every time I tried, I had to start again, because it sounded too negative. Even if the displeasing things are more striking, it is absolutely untrue that India is not a beautiful and extraordinary country. It is extraordinary because its beauty is not made up of anything we are used to. You can find it in the furrowed face of an old woman smiling a toothless smile as you walk by, or just by looking at the bright tones of red and orange when the sun is vanishing behind the mountains. It is shown in the helpfulness of people who are crossing your way, always trying to do their best, and in the colour of a saree coupled with the clinking sound of the bangles. I think a foreigner has to forget about all her concepts of beauty and lifestyle to be able to see those little but delightful details and to be open minded to absorb differences. There is so much to ...
Describing herself as a free bird, Laetitia Saplana is at first irked by the many dos and don’ts on her arrival in Madurai. But gradually she finds herself falling in love with India and its people… koncham koncham… slowly but surely
By Laetitia SaplanaFrance
I have been traveling in India, from the north to the south, for more than a month now. I have had many lovely impressions of this country such as the colour, religion, landscape, food, culture, traffic and the ubiquitous cows on the road…When I arrived in Madurai, I was not disorientated. The only things which choked me were the rules of Tamil Nadu, because, I am a “Suthanthira paravai” or a free bird. So it was very difficult for me at first, but I found some solutions, because if there is no solution there is no problem. It’s part of my philosophy of life..Every morning and evening, in the company with my “Nalavar” tea seller, I drink my tea. I try all the different foods, and learn the Tamil language “koncham koncham” (little by little). During my lunch, if possible, I go to the countryside in Pasumalai to connect with the local people and “Tamil Penn” (girls). When I am walking along the small streets, everybody looks at me because I am “a white Indian girl” but when I smile and nod my head, the Indian behavior is obvious, and we share smiles. Most of the time, people ask me to join them and the women don’t want me to eat my own lunch because they want to cook some dosa or masala puri for me. I eat alone or with them, and we “talk” with my few Tamil words, with eyes, with hands and we laugh a lot. Indians are very nice, and there is humanity in the people and place. I feel ...
Jeudi 24 Avril, village de Chinnu Patti.
Une journee qui s’annonce haute en couleur dans la Model Farm !Aujourd’hui nous avons prevu une fete pour les enfants de Chinnu Patti et des villages voisins autour du theme des elephants.Ce grand pachyderme que nous cottoyons depuis la nuit des temps, mais qui se trouve deshormais en voie de disparition…Au programme, donc : differencier les deux types, a savoir l’elephant d’Afrique et celuii d’Asie, etudier leur environnement et le comportement adecuate a avoir lorsque l’on se trouve dans leur habitat et si l’on est face a eux, et puis tenter de comprendre et de trouver des solutions afin de vivre en harmonie avec eux. Le challenge est de taille ! Et je comprends la difficulte de la chose au moment ou je vois debarquer toute la joeyuse troupe aux alentours de 10h00 – 10h30.Nous decidons donc de commencer par un theatre muet pour tenter de canaliser l’energie debordantes des 16 gamins facent a nous. Le groupe se divisent alors en 4 “equipes” : les elephants, les villageois, les chefs de chantiers de l’usine de papier, et les fruits joues par les plus petits bouts qui representaient la foret. Bon, moi j’etais des bananes ; oui je sais, tres grand role d’une complexite extreme pensez-vous ! Heureusement j’etais en compagnie de mes 3 petits amis Mangue, Ananas et Canne a Sucre. Et c’est parti pour une repetition digne des plus grands acteurs, et tout le monde joue reellement bien le jeu ! Et c’est après de nombreux fou rires, beaucoup d’etonnement et un talent general bluffant que nous finissons par nous produire devant toute une assemblee d’Amas (Mamans) en saree multi colors heureuses et fieres de ...
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