Since arriving in India when I’m on the move, if I’m not travelling previously unimaginable amounts of time on trains, I’m in an auto rickshaw. As my confidence and use of the maps in my lonely planet have increased I have walked more instead of getting an auto. I have always liked to walk, instead of taking public transport, even when at home in London. Walking gives you time to just be. It slows you down. It lets you think. It lets you see what’s around you.
Being in India everyone seems to always take auto’s instead of walk. Walking seems to be the transportation of those who can’t afford an auto. Choosing to walk seems to be a foreign concept. Or out of the question, in some minds, as it surely couldn’t be safe enough for a westerner to walk around, especially as a woman. Which seems to be an annoying part of western culture that journeys along with us until its challenged. This companion we are taught to take with us everywhere is fear. Fear of something bad happening. Fear of it not being safe. Fear of it not being sensible. Fear of the unknown.
And yes walking has its draw backs its hot and sticky and dusty…and especially if you have suntan lotion on that all the dust will stick to you. And yes I have had, what I see as a luxury, the opportunity to be a lone traveller where I have had no choice but to face things head on, balanced beautifully with wonderful people who have been more then willing to help give me a gentle entry into India. This has given me my confidence. I am completely aware that i would feel different if I had no place within India to call home and no Indian based friends to support me which is the case for so many travelers within Indian.
But still I would recommend to people to walk. Experience India in all its vibrance. And especially, experience it in its everydayness. While you walk you observe from the inside instead of being a more distant observer. The photo above was one that I took while walking. Yet another place that I had no plan to see yet brought depth and colour to my picture of India. When you walk around you can’t help but see India for what it is. And when I’ve been here longer I still want to keep walking because like describing walking in London its not just about seeing. It will be a space to slow down and to just be in a country that seems to never stop moving.