I want to sit here and write something both interesting and challenging about what I saw and experienced in Southern India. However I find that at this time I am simply unable to write anything that adequately puts the my experience into perspective.

Without wishing to sound overly dramatic, I think I am still in a place where my brain is currently processing things. It’s not helped by the fact that having arrived home from the cotton wool heat of India’s monsoon season and stepped straight into the chill of the beginnings of an English winter, I have managed to catch a cold that is making my thoughts flow like treacle.

I find myself overwhelmed by the spirit of the people we met who lived in abject poverty, but who somehow seemed to be cheerful and pleased to play host to the visiting white folk.

Throughout the entire trip we were treated like visiting dignitaries, like the members of the Royal Family. The people of the villages and communities we saw warmly welcomed us and through their happiness and high spirits they humbled me completely.

I am left with a feeling that here in the west we have simply lost our way. It’s perhaps easy to sit in judgement of our lives having seen such a stark contrast, but I’m no judge, nor would I ever assume to be. But the I just can’t help feeling that things are horribly unbalanced.

The simplicity and spirituality of the lives of those I met in India seem uncluttered and largely unrewarded by our western standards. But it’s those western standards I am today seriously questioning. While they have nothing, we have it all. Yet despite the abundance of money and ‘things’ many in the western world are unfulfilled and without purpose. Happiness seems like a luxury that, despite our wealth, few enjoy.

Upon my return the first thing that struck me at London Heathrow Airport was the amount of fat people. It may seem un-PC to say this, but I am being honest and uncut here. The whole time I was in Southern India, even on the final day when we spent time unwinding at a beach resort popular with wealthy people from Northern India, we saw no obese people. Their presence in Heathrow seemed like an affront to me, an insult to the people that not 3 days previously we had seen struggling to feed themselves.

Like I said though, I am still processing all of this information so forgive me for not writing something compelling, thought provoking and interesting. I shall instead post the first in what will be a series of pictures from the trip.

Read Part 2 here