SmilingSounds quite simple and ordinary doesn’t it? However, I have seen way more smiles on the streets spent in a day in India than I ever have back in Vienna. Which, to be fair, is a city known for people´s grumpiness. Still. A smile doesn’t cost a penny. If anything it will make someones day a little brighter. What I really enjoyed seeing in India is people looking you into your eyes with a smile on your face. If you smile, people smile back. Whenever I asked something, they would reply politely, always with a smile on their face. Not only smiling to me but also to each other. Even if their life, for the most part, is harder than the life of the standard Austrian, they still manage to take it with more joy and with a smile. Smiling and truly appreciating what we have is definitely an attitude we all can adopt.
HelpfulnessI came across a lot of amazingly helpful people whom I didn´t even need to ask to help me. They just did. Whenever I entered a local bus, people would automatically see that I was a foreigner as I would be the only white person in the entire bus. Soon, someone would approach me asking me where I was going. When I answered, people would always tell me exactly where and when to get off, sometimes even walking me to the next bus stop so that I would securely end up in the place I needed to be. Just by the looks of me wandering around a bit disoriented someone would approach me – something I have never seen in Vienna. People usually walk by, too busy to stop for anyone. Most people might not even see someone wandering around cluelessly, as they would be too busy being occupied heading to work or home.
Making things from scratchGranted, this is more of a necessity than a choice in India, but I still wanted to include this point. I was more than fascinated when I saw how Indians create their food for thw first time. As I was invited into a kitchen of restaurant one time – to learn how to cook indian food by myself – I got quite an insight on how they can make almost anything from scratch. If you need coconut milk and shredded coconut you will just crack open a coconut and shred it yourself. Also, every sauce, every meal is made from mixing plants together. I´ve never seen anyone using any pre-made sauces – everything is made from scratch – something I couldn´t even imagine anymore as I was so used to just going to the supermarket and buying everything I would need.
Non-stealingNow, let me first say that I am aware that this is not the case for all regions in India, because in some parts you have to take better care of your things than in others. Those parts are very poor though and people sometimes have not much choice than steal to survive. However, the regions I visited, especially the ones in which Hinduism was very prominent and where I could clearly see their religion played an important role in their lives, you could easily walk into a shop with a heavy backpack, leave it somewhere between the clothes to look around and then pick it up again before you leave. Even when the bag was out of sight the entire time no one ever touched it. Something that would be unthinkable in most parts of our world.
Non-violenceI experienced India as a peaceful, non-violent country. I was never subject of any kind of violence nor did I witness violence during my travels for three months. What´s interesting is the question what makes this country a rather peaceful country. With my observations in mind I tried to compare India and Brazil, both situated on the other side of the world, they have a lot of similarities. Especially when it comes to social structures and poverty. However, when you compare the two, you will quickly see that Brazil is way more violent. This might be due to religion – butcpuld be questioned as well, due to Indians not really carrying weapons – or at least I didn´t see anyone carrying them. What plays a very big role for sure though is something almost every Indian believes in: Karma
KarmaKarma is the believe that what goes around comes around. So, if you commit a crime, if you act inconsiderately towards other people it is very likely that all of this will soon come back to you. As you already put bad energy out in the universe, the same energy will enter your life again later in the future. The same thing goes for good deeds. If you do something good, if you help someone in need, you will be helped when you need it as well. So good deeds are always something to strive for – you don´t want something bad to happen to you. I genuinely believe in this concept myself as well. We are all putting out our energy in the world. We are creating our own field of joy or suffering. Which then influences other people. Doing something good with a good intention that comes from the heart will eventually come back around. Something bad will as well. That´s a concept anyone could adopt as well – even if you don´t believe in it – acting upon it would make your day a little brighter. Helping and being kind to others will consequently lead to you seeing more smiles, laughter and joy. And how doesn´t want that? India can teach you even more than that, but these were the points I wanted to focus on for now. I feel like if anyone adopted a few of these attitudes – and gave the concept of karma more credit, we would all live in a bit of a happier world.