Diary of India 2009 - Day 1
Arrived in Kolkata about 7am India time. A lot of travelling so feel very tired. What impacted me straight away was the smell when we walked out of the airport. It was a smell of vibrancy and poverty. Very hard to describe. There was a sea of colours as people stood outside the airport dressed in beautiful Sari's.
The journey to the BMS guest house was fascinating! Driving in India is chaotic, scary but fun! Horns blowing all the time, no infrastructure, buses, cars, bikes and people all narrowly missing each other. The rain started to pour and pour and pour...
As we neared the guest house I noticed a young woman on the side of the road wearing rags, soaking wet and shaking with cold. She had her hands stretched out with a grimace on her face. People simply ignored her. There seem to people all over the world in every society who have been rejected...
After reaching the guest house we had a rest and then decided to go for a walk and explore a bit of Kolkata. We came out the gust house and walked down the street. A lady came and started to tug on some of the other guy's clothes asking for money. We had to keep walking as we've been told not to give any money to people begging. This was challenging. What would Jesus do?
During this first day I have encountered and tasted a beautiful and challenging new culture. Kolkata seems to be a place of extremes. Beauty and Ugliness. Wealth and Poverty. Chaos and Calmness.
My emotions have been fairly stable today. I'm just trying to take everything in. I'm also intrigued how I will feel about my own Indian roots.
It is going to be a real challenge to understand what the gospel means to the people I meet in and around Kolkata. What is good news to those begging on the streets? How does extreme wealth and extreme poverty affect us spiritually? How will this experience change me? How can I be a better disciple of Jesus?