Judy’s India Trip
“Growth stretch” & broader perspective from the other side of the world ~ April 10 – 28, 2023
First of all, for those who contributed interest, preparation, prayers and support, I want to give you a big cyber hug and say a HUGE Thank you!! So much planning and anticipation went into this trip. Now that it’s a memory, it’s becoming an amalgam of experiences that I’m still processing.
This is a first attempt to give you a summary. Although, I’m massaging the stories and insights and including them in my keynote presentations, retreat facilitating, and masterclasses. The stories from the trip have reinforced my “growth formula” of breathing fresh A.I.R. (Awareness, Intentionality, and Risks of growth).
For an overview, I traveled with about 38 others whom I’ve learned and developed relationships with through David Bayer’s Legendary Coaching Program. We traveled to: Mumbai, Varanasi, New Delhi, Rishikesh, and Agra. Our trip was masterfully organized by Sodhi Travel Agency and in particular, Sahil Mattoo.
Our Indian guides who traveled with us the entire time were like guardian angels. They kept us safe, on time, and in line. We really didn’t have to think about what was coming up next. We were divided into two groups. Vikram was our guide on bus “A” and KV was the guide for the other half of our group on bus “B.” Over our time together (including 38 of us) we all felt like family with each other. Our “good-byes” were heart-felt that last day of our “big group” tour.
My very good friend and roomie from Canada, Karena Brawley, and I stayed a couple days longer in New Delhi. I met with a few mental health therapists one evening who gave me even more insights into the mental health system and marriage & family therapy challenges. I was pleased to listen and reinforce the Masterclass teaching about Imago Therapy.
I knew the streets in Mumbai would be crowded. But I didn’t expect how crowded. But a first “divine appointment” for me was noticing the little girls with their dad on the bus. We smiled at each other and waved as if we were family.
What I later discovered was how popular we were wherever we went. Whether it was a road stop or waiting in line to enter a temple, we were popular!! Strangers and groups of people would come up to us wanting their picture taken with us.
An early and profound experience was visiting and interacting with the children at Bal Asha Orphanage. The executive director, Sunil Arora briefed us to be mindful that even though the children come from trauma or various situations, “this is not a sad place.” He stated that instead, this is a happy place of care, love and education.
Of course, we were not able to take pictures of the children but we had significant interaction with them. I was impressed with what the children prepared for us. They had practiced and mastered a beautiful display of their dancing and singing. They even taught us to dance.
A very touching moment in the program was hearing the testimony of a young attorney. This man was 9 years old when he came to Bal Asha to live. And now he is an advocate and role model for for orphaned children in India.
You could feel the love and care just walking on campus.
Later in the trip, I encountered beautiful children who live very differently than the children here in the US. Some were extremely persistent in selling us flowers. Others just wanted their pictures taken with us. But all are precious souls who touched me deeply.
This 11 year-old girl was masterfully persistent in selling her flowers in Varanasi. We boarded the boat on the Ganges River for the evening ceremony. About two hours later when it was dark and you’d think she’d be fast asleep in her bed for school the next day. Instead, she continued to pursue me to buy more flowers.
These little boys accompany their parents on the job at Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai.
This is India’s largest open air laundry service. It’s likely where our stone-washed jeans and other clothing comes from. Here’s more about the Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai that we toured.
These “Dabbawalas” take great pride in delivering lunches on time with extreme efficiency without using any software or internet system for organization. They are always precise in delivering 200,000 home-cooked meals a day to city workers.
They are so committed to being on time that when Prince Charles of England came to visit, they kept him waiting in order to fulfill on their promise.
One of the workers showed his pride by posing for pics. Here’s a quick youtube video that explains it better than I can.
Also, a very moving film called “Lunch Box” is a drama worth watching. Even though it was in Hindi and I was reading the subtitles, there was a scene that made me cry. It likely wouldn’t have otherwise. But my personal experiences there along with hearing from the therapists, I was touched deeply.
In Rishikesh, we were instructed to make sure our heavy glass doors were not only closed, but were locked. It was common for these creature to turn the handle and help themselves to whatever was laying around to eat.
One morning while eating breakfast on the patio, out of nowhere and without warning, one of those “naughty monkeys” pounced on our table and took a banana off my friend’s plate.
Another time in Agra while about to enter the Taj Mahal, another monkey grabbed a banana out of the back pocket of another friend.
I carried no bananas with me. Below is a selfie from the reflection of my room at the foot-hills of the Himalayas where many monkeys reside.