A couple weeks back, I got back from a month long trip to India. A month is a pretty long stay, and I think I saw a lot of India. India is both similar and different compared to the US. First of all, the economic situation in India kind of makes our own problem pale. Roughly 220 million Indians are below the poverty line, and this is the lowest point it has been at since Indian Independence. And the poverty is everywhere, with slums being erected in alleyways and side streets.

But besides the poverty, India is not that different from Seattle. Contrary to what my friends seemed to think, camels do not roam the streets (except in the countryside, near the desert; camels are used there for everything from tourist rides to pulling carts), and nor do people ride elephants through the streets. Indian main streets are filled with cars, not animals, and the only difference from our highways is the fact that the traffic is so congested that walkers go faster than the cars.

India actually seems to be more techy than Seattle. Everyone seems to have a cell phone, even the people who sell fake Adidas wristbands (they also usually have very bad Bollywood ringtones.) Texting is there; even my grandparents have started learning to ‘send an SMS.’

India is an awesome place, and I’d recommend you try and visit it sometime. Of course, it’s not exactly easy. So instead, try reading about all the amazing sights you can see in India with this book. Or watch the Golden Globe winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire, or its award winning soundtrack. All can be found at the Seattle Public Library.

~Kian, Teen Center Advisor

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