OH! THE PLACES I'LL GO. PART II - INDIA
I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. I will answer the “How was it?” question with more specific questions.
Let’s start with, what were the locals you met like? The people that were introduced to me by my in-laws, they were incredibly warm, hospitable and open, there was not one that I felt did not go out of its way to make us feel comfortable. Which cities did you visited? We first arrived in Trivandrum, Kerala, this is where TJ’s relatives are from and some currently live. We traveled north to New Delhi, the national capital and is the largest city by area and population in North India. We then headed to Mumbai, the financial capital, and is the most populous city in India. New Mumbai is a very nice city, and we truly enjoyed visiting and getting to know Pastor Samuelkutty and his family. What was your favorite city? I don’t have one, they all are unique in their own way and I enjoyed seeing some similarities and differences among them.
What was the most impressive thing you saw/felt? The sense of peace there seems to be among the people. The Diversity and the unity among them. Deep respect to the Elders and a deep sense of Worship. Also, It was cool to see the beautiful waves at St. Andrew’s Beach. I was also surprised to see a lot more younger guys compared to girls at the places we visited. Obviously, the other thing that impressed me was to see how close and tight people live and the amount of trash that surrounds them, specially New Delhi and Mumbai.
How long did it take you to pick up some of the language? Ha!! …. I picked up the word “തല” – tala (head) in Malayalam rather quick, only because others would most times hit their heads while entering the cute little van we rode, in Trivandrum.
What were the scariest moments? In New Delhi, one of the first sights we visited was The Indian Gate, wow!! There were so many people and the way these young guys would look at you and walked around you, was incredibly intimidating! And “traffic”, especially in New Delhi and Mumbai. Absolutely TeRrIfYiNg! Also, having roaring lions so close to me was a bit scary. What disappointed you? Not being the example Jesus would have wanted me to be in certain situations and not being able to make it to the Taj Mahal. That makes a good reason to go back! What stirred your emotions? It truly broke my heart to see the living conditions of so many people. I have never seen so much poverty in my life before. It opened my eyes to be more appreciate and thankful for what I have. What was an unfair thing that happened to you? Well, I think TJ, myself and Amanda, my mother had a couple of experiences in where the price on items were raised on us, as soon as they saw us, it didn’t matter the kind of store we were in. Would you ever move to any of the cities you visited? Yes! If and When God says this is where I want you in order to fulfill my purpose, then, that’s where I’ll go. Be it India or anywhere else in the world. If you could only re-live five minutes of the trip, which five minutes would it be? The family gatherings at the Villa to laugh about the “story” of the day (specially the one about getting a massage at the Santhigiri Medical College) and enjoying meals together.
What was something that amazed you? To see how devoted people are to their religion. The way people worship, there is no track of time and people are truly in the moment, from the youngest to the oldest ones. I was privileged to witness 3 baptisms at the “Church of God (Full Gospel) in India” where Pastor Samuelkutty Preaches at. We sat on beautiful mats and worshiped for about 3 hrs. and on another occasion 4 hrs.
What was a moment of confusion? (Toilets?? lol). Ok, moving on…I never got used to the left side of the road driving. Even worst, going around to the left side of the van to get in, I would be standing like “dumb” for Raffi to open the side he was sitting on, I never hit one with that! The other very confusing thing was making a line, there is a line for guys and one for girls, most times we would end up in the guys line because the girls line was unseen. As mentioned before, there seemed to be so many more guys as there were girls. Also, what to us are restaurants, to them are Hotels. A peaceful moment was when riding the House Boat in the city of Alappuzha. It was really relaxing and fun to be able to just enjoy the view and the breeze. I also enjoyed my “Day Off” from vacationing, I had a peaceful day to myself. Was the food spicy? Somewhat, SO so and YES! It just depended on who ordered it or who made it. What was your favorite meal? This is a hard one, everything was so delicious, and a few dishes that I remember are: Biryani, my all time favorite, Chicken Tikka Masala, Palak Paneer, Butter Chicken, Sambar, Masala Dosa, Sides: Vada, Parotta, Papadum, Idli, Dosa, Appam, Avial, Samosa, Chapata, etc. Is it the country of FLAVORS for sure!!
What was the greatest blessing? To be able to meet TJ’s family. I can’t express enough how sweet and nice they all are. Tio (uncle) Alex, his wife Bindu Auntie and daughters, Irene, Sherin, and Jane. I also met TJ’s grandma, Achamma Thomas (pictured) and Bindu Aunti’s parents. I will always remember sweet memories. Other nice people we met were, Pastor Premji in New Delhi, Pastor Samuelkutty and family in Mumbai, Arjun and family, Raffi who drove us in Trivandrum and it’s surrounding areas. Kumari George, the dinner she cooked and served us was Delicious!! Shakunthala, she visited us twice and also cooked a special meal for those who had been wanting Tapioca, Yuca in Spanish. This was the spiciest food I tried and possibly that will ever have.
Lastly, I will mention as many sights as I can remember visiting in New Delhi: India Gate, The Red Fort, Qutb Minar (the tallest minaret in the world made up of bricks), Humayuns Tomb, and The Lotus Temple. In Mumbai: Gateway of India, Haji Ali - saw from afar, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Juhu Beach, Khandala and Lonavala Hill Stations. Kerala: The back waters of Alleppey (Alappuzha), Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary-Lion Safari Park, Coffee House, Snagithiri Asryum, S.M.S.M. Institute (shopping), Kalyan Silks Store (The most colourful store in the history of silk, dates back to 1909 and it has become the world’s largest silk Saree showroom network).
We were extremely blessed to be traveling with family, they understand the culture and speak the language. I am grateful for this unforgettable experience.
Bartola is the Children’s Minister and is married to Thomas (TJ) Kuruvilla. They are current foster parents of a wonderful 5 year old boy. They love serving withing the church and outside of it as opportunities present themselves. Being an adopted kid herself, Bartola has a heart for missions and grew up as the result of Mission Predisan in Honduras. As a Loving Wife, Mom, and Children’s Minister: she is astonished to see how God’s hand has worked in her life.