I just left India yesterday and I’ve been thinking a lot about my trip. This isn’t new and it’s not like it’s isolated to India or that I didn’t know about it, but seeing the disparity of wealth was a bit troubling. Because I was there on something work-related, we were put up in the nicest hotel in Delhi. The thing is, the moment you step out of those gates, you see people begging for money. How does that not disturb you? When you are experiencing this extravagant wealth, people are less than 100 feet away from you trying to survive. Or when we went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, the Oberoi Amarvilas has been voted one of the top hotels in the world for many years, but the buildings right next to it are shacks that are falling apart. It just blows my mind.
And not to get all into the afterlife and religion and reincarnation, but I remember being annoyed when someone from my high school told me I was lucky to be accepted into the college I got into. How could they call that “luck”? I had worked hard to get where I got! But I’ve realized over the years that on some level, it was luck. It was luck that this was the life I was born into. It was luck that I was born into a first-world country with loving parents and so many opportunities. I remember what struck me the most when I went to volunteer in Nicaragua wasn’t the poor living conditions since, as terrible as it sounds, it was already expected. But I was surprised by the fact that there was a free public school system, but the things that were hindering them from going was the inability to afford uniforms and the fact that no matter how hard they worked, they wouldn’t be able to compete with the kids in the worst public schools in the States. They weren’t given that opportunity and I was because in the grand scheme in life, these were the cards that were dealt to me. Could I have been as easily been born as the 12th child to poor parents in Nicaragua or India begging on the streets for money?
Anyways, back to India. So then I was thinking about how different this kind of disparity of wealth and poverty was from New York. There are homeless people right around the corner from where I live, too. Maybe when you go to the Upper East Side, there aren’t, but we don’t have to travel far to see poverty, maybe not on India’s level, but on a different, but same kind of level as well. Am I just jaded because I see “that” kind of poverty every day in New York City and am used to the homeless guy sitting in the cold with a sign? I don’t know. But all I know is that ever since I’ve moved to NYC, I’ve been meaning to just go into McDonald’s a buy 10 hamburgers and give them out to the first 10 homeless people I see. I am definitely going to do that soon.