I’m currently laying in bed the morning after a big night of puking. Not from the normal “Delhi Belly” but from some fried chicken momos (dumplings) that I should’ve known better than to eat- the chicken was pink but damn were they good. I want more. They came from the cart downstairs, directly at the entrance of the flat we’re staying at. The woman who makes the momos is so sweet. I know the only reason they weren’t cooked correctly is because almost no Indians eat meat and so she isn’t used to cookin’ them up. If she spoke any word of English I would tell her I want more but that she needs to cook them longer. But I suppose its not worth the risk. Maybe it is, I don’t know…Momos are damn good. They remind me of home. Being in India is a wild experience, and I am really enjoying it but wow I really do miss home. The familiarity of my surroundings and the level of comfort I experience in my huge city is a feeling I miss. You’re just never sure here. Never sure if the ATM will have cash, if the men are genuinely nice or just trying to get in your pants (although that is certainly not exclusive to India), If the momos will make you throw up. The air, yeah that’s the worst part by far. I love myself a good bustling city with no traffic rules and stray cows on every corner, but to be choking on the air I’m breathing makes the whole experience way more hard to swallow.
Finding my place in India has and is a very slow, confusing experience. Within project why, I must adapt my understanding of my role in the community. I have come to realize that the 2 most valuable things which I can provide the community of Project Why stem directly from my whiteness. I am quite cynical of the dialogue surrounding “x privilege” but that is a whole different worm hole which I am not trying to open right now… yes, of course I know that I was born into a country with many advantages compared to other parts of the world. But I’ve never been one to keep talking about white people, everything we have, the good things that happen to us (which I view as systematic racism and not a privilege for anyone). I find much more value in wondering how I can use those unfair “advantages” to others’ benefit.
Being here in India and putting that into action is a bizarre sensation. To feel how desirable my native language is, and to feel how much attention and awareness that the presence of my whiteness brings to project why. It makes me somewhat uncomfortable, but that is a sign of personal growth. And I feel the growing pains every day. Teaching kids who don’t speak my language, exploring a country entirely foreign to me. It’s all hard, but rewarding beyond my expectations. India is a beautiful, mysterious place.