The Limits of the Sound Bite

From Alicia Balkrishna, our world traveler:


It’s a new year.  With all the fresh opportunity and possibility for reinvention, what’s not to like?  For those of us lucky enough to parlay time off over the holidays into a bona fide vacation, the end of our jet-setting and return to r-e-a-l-i-t-y is a bit sobering.  But, for me, it’s answering the ubiquitous post-vacay question. . .


‘How was the trip?’

After returning from two weeks in India (New Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Goa), I’ve found myself more challenged by this good-natured query than ever before.


‘It was amazing.  The food, the hospitality, the history! [Insert anecdote about a quirky snack, the sight of cows on the beach or the splendor of the Taj Mahal here]’


I’ve chirped a similar response countless times since disembarking from that 20-hour plane flight, yet I’m always left feeling as though I’ve shortchanged the painfully beautiful country and its people – not to mention my partner in conversation – by failing to say something more.


We live in a sound bite world.  No one besides your mother (and maybe your best friend) can stomach a response that can’t be shared in a few enthusiastic sentences.  But, it’s near impossible to capture the awe-inspiring experience of India in 30 seconds or less: the warmth of spirit, the joy shared by family and friends over a good meal (and some good scotch or Kingfisher beer), the richness of tradition combined with the palpable excitement of economic growth, and the raw shock of seeing abject poverty juxtaposed with the luxury enjoyed by the country’s wealthiest citizens.


So, when language fails to do justice to India’s capacity to stir the heart and mind, I’ll leave you with . . . pictures.  A highly-edited selection to satisfy even the shortest attention spans, of course. 




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