After leaving India, I knew I had learned a lot about Indian art — that was the goal of the class after all. I wondered, however, how much I had actually retained about India itself. I wondered about how much I had come to understand the culture, the people, the food, the languages, the geography, etc in just nine days. Nine days is not very long, as I realized boarding the plane to leave. For every question answered in those nine days, I gained two more than remained unanswered. In such a religiously diverse, socially unique, and geographically broad country, there was so much left to learn.
I sought to answer some of my questions and learn more about India, so I switched my Core Communities and Identities class to Core India once I returned home. Last night I finished the first reading from the class from the ancient Indian epic The Mahabharata and began to uncover how much I had truly observed, learned, and retained while traveling in India. So much of the texts resonated with the customs and Indian history that I had learned while in India and in our class. I was able to understand the usage of the word boon, understand the way time is considered cyclical in the text, and understand how the religious nature of the text relates to some of the art we viewed. As I observed the rest of the students in the class begin to wrap their minds around these understandings, it became clear all that I had retained. I really do know quite a bit about India from our trip. While I trip was quick, it was also completely immersive. I learned a TON and it has already made me a better student and a more informed person. Our trip to India was truly amazing and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity. I’m hopeful that someday I will be back and visit the incredible streets of Mumbai and the beautiful landscape of Aurangabad.