A country shrouded in mystery, controversy, and cows.
As my friend puts it brilliantly, “India probably has the highest mentally challenged cow population in the world.”
To those unfamiliar, many regions in India ban the slaughter of these majestic beasts. Much like in the Western world where cats and dogs are beloved; in India, the cow is an animal that is treated with honor, respect, and adoration. It is an animal that is protected so fiercely that even McDonalds is forced to take the Big Mac off their menu.
RIP Big Mac, you were always there for us when Chick Fil A wasn’t.
I digress, a few months ago, I visited India. During my travels there, we took a train, going 500 miles down the western coast, for 4 U.S. dollars. That’s right. 500 miles. 4 U.S. dollars. That’s like going to KFC but instead of getting a bucket of chicken, Colonel Sanders gets you from San Diego to San Francisco.
It’s the four of us: me, two dudes who go to college in the SEC, and the guy who said the thing about retarded cows. We hopped onto a train at 7a.m. and grabbed a booth, basically a metal box with some seats carved into it. Think of the New York subway as heaven- this train somewhere in the seven circles of hell. But sometimes, hell is the place to be. Raw, loud, gritty, dirty, sweltering, severely lacking toilet paper, but one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had. For fifteen hours we sat there, laying there, staring out the window, staring at each other, reading, arguing, listening to music, watching our phones slowly die, thinking about the future, thinking about the past, and suddenly, wondering why our fan suddenly stopped working.
Those fifteen hours gave me something valuable. It gave me context; context for how much 4 dollars is worth, for how far 500 miles can feel, and for how much we should value seat cushions. The point I'm trying to make is; don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, those are the experiences that shape who you are and ultimately how you see the world. It can be the most random things like finding out that you have pay to use the bathroom in Europe or sitting in a metal boxcar for 15 hours on the highway to hell.
Edited by Maria Paz Noyen