My husband Kevin and I were fortunate to spend 17 days in India earlier this summer. It was his third and my second trip to what I consider to be one of the most fascinating places on the planet. While in some ways the United States seems to be angrily trudging along like the crotchety Clint Eastwood character in the 2008 movie Gran Torino, optimistic India is rocketing into the future using every form of transportation available: a rusted and rickety bicycle peddled by a sinewy Sikh messenger…a scooter carrying a family of six delivering a bolt of golden fabric…A Tuk-Tuk with peeling paint chauffeuring German tourists…a rainbow-colored vegetable truck honk-honk-honking at a straining flatbed truck weighed down by utility poles pulled by a camel…a large and fast-moving silver oil tanker swiftly changing lanes, narrowly missing two guys balancing several 30-foot long wood planks on a motorcycle. Say what you will – this country is M-O-V-I-N-G.
One of the many things about India that leaves a lasting impression is the fact that entrepreneurs are everywhere. Take the ear cleaners, for example. No, I didn’t test their skills, but many people have. This audacious duo has even been featured on the Travel Channel. Or, consider the guy who dresses up every day as a cartoon character and sits outside a restaurant daring customers to come in.
There are pop-up businesses everywhere you look. In need of a shave? Go to one of the many kiosks ready and waiting to provide you with clean and prompt whisker removal. Sweepers use flowing handmade brooms to keep the landmarks tidy.
No matter what vehicle India’s population employs, the innate industriousness and optimism of the people will drive it well into the future.