Oct 17th: Kochi — Day 23
It’s been some time since I last wrote! I noticed texts were starting to get into details that were not that interesting, so I decided to space out the posts a bit more. I ended up taking much longer than what I should've. Oops. Here's what's been happening:
I finally got to know real India a bit.
- I visited a friend from work. Let’s call him V. V’s family is poor.
- V’s house: a minuscule kitchen and a tiny room with one bed and dozens of saint statues. V shares the bed with his sister and mother. His father sleeps on the floor.
- “Indian parents provide the best to their children no matter how big the sacrifice is.” (V)
- “I went to a school that had the tGELF curriculum and all its benefits. That was what introduced me to all the possibilities ahead and made me dream about my future. That’s why I work for tGELF now and believe so much in the vision.” (V)
- V’s mom made insanely delicious potatoes, onions and coffee for us. When we said “Thank you so much, Auntie” she said “Nah, you don’t say thank you to your mom.” They don’t have much, but they are some of the most willing to share.
- The area had cows everywhere! Cows chilling in the streets, cows stopping the traffic, cows rule India! When I asked who feeds them, V told me it’s the villagers themselves.
- On our way out, people were begging on the streets. V said “Don’t give them anything; the mafia forces them to do that and gets all their money. The mafia kidnaps these people, then does atrocious things such as cutting parts of their bodies and making them blind, so that those who see it are more likely to give.”
I went to a gurdwara!
- From Wikipedia: "A gurdwara (meaning 'door to the Guru') is a place of worship for Sikhs. People from all faiths, and those who do not profess any faith, are welcomed in Sikh gurdwaras."
- We had to take off our shoes and use a cloth over our heads (the cloth is meant to protect an eye that's inside our heads and that allows us to communicate with God)
- Two dudes with a camera asked if they could interview us for their Youtube channel that spreads knowledge about Sikhism. Random and informative.
I went to a protestant event
- That was on the same day I visited the gurdwara.
- There was music, drums, guitars, and inspirational talks, just like what I was used to seeing in Brazil.
- The insight: Sikhism and Christianity end up talking about pretty much the same things. Their believes are extremely similar and the difference lies mainly in how they express those believes. Both look good to me. I talked to someone about it: "Each religion is like a river and at the end they converge to the same lake; I believe in the lake more than in a single river."
- Diwali is the Festival of Lights, and here it's as important as Christmas is in the Western culture.
- I went to friends' parties, crashed into random people's parties, and ate a lot of food. The streets and houses become super beautiful with all the lights used to decorate them.
- We found some cheap tickets to a friends' hometown and booked it 4 days before the trip. We are now in her house in Kochi, right next to the beach, where the air is a lot cleaner and the people are a whole lot nicer.
- Ashoka University basically brings all the best from American universities to India
- We went there as mentors for the undergrads who were working on some case studies
- I'm not sure I had the skills necessary to be a mentor. I'll now be pretty skeptical whenever random mentors show up in anything I participate.
Reflections, thoughts and changes
- "Out is usually better than in." I usually don't regret saying "yes" to invitations to go out; even when it's not that fun, I'm fine with it. But when I say no, the "what if?" thought kills me.
- "You ask a lot of questions." Someone told me that recently, which I think is good! A few months ago, a friend gave me an advice: "During this gap year, listen. Listen and meditate." Asking questions is one way to listen more.
- Building your own thing is scary! I'm working a good amount on the Programming Academy I'll start in Brazil in January, and every decision and move freaks me out. It's fun, but scary.
- I'm really bad at answering messages. As in, it often takes me 2–3 months to answer people on Messenger! I'm trying to change it. Responding people quickly is hard, but doable, and probably worth it.