Monday, November 9, 2020


When I visited India a couple years ago, I met several people who said seeing the Taj Mahal and visiting #India were items on their bucket list. Those two items were never was on my bucket list, but I admit the #Taj Mahal is breathtaking as it appears among the mists rising from the #Yamuna River at sunrise. 

Here's one reason why seeing the Taj Mahal wasn't on my bucket list. As the sun rises you also see the Yamuna River, one of the holy rivers of India, is polluted. In fact, some Indians have described it as an "open sewer." The #pollution of the Yamuna Rivers made me think. Experts say the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers are among the ten most polluted rivers in the  world, but then so is the Mississippi. Considering the importance of water for life itself, maybe more of us should include "doing at least one activity that reduces pollution" on our bucket list.


My other problem with the Taj Mahal are the crowds. Think of the crowds leaving the stadium of a Big Ten school after a football game. I saw the Taj Mahal during the Diwali (a Hindu festival) holidays with probably twenty thousand people. However, the groups of fifty to two hundred school children each at tourist sites were amazing. Each clump of children were identifiable by their clothes, particularly the girl's uniforms. For example, one group of several hundred girls wore leggings with long jumpers almost to their knees in shades of green. Although all the groups were noisy when they left their buses. They were quiet and organized and with the smallest in front and the tallest at the back of the group by the time they reached the entrance to the sites. The children reminded me that all of us should include on our bucket list at least one activity that improves the welfare and education of #children.


I usually think that the "native" song and dance performances that tourists are treated to are hokey. However, I thought the snake dance performed by tribal women in #Rajasthan was one of the most sensuous performance I'd ever seen. It made those seen in movies look like bump and grind routines. That also made think. The best parts of travel occur when you least expect them. Perhaps, the most important item on any one's bucket list should be "to learn to appreciate the arts and skills of others."


I suppose this blog is too preachy but it's my long-winded way of admitting that visiting India should be on more people's bucket list. I suspect that is not an achievable goal for most, especially with the pandemic. So, the alternative is: read a novel with scenes depicting modern India. You might consider DIRTY HOLY WATER.


Blurb for DIRTY HOLY WATER: Sara Almquist is about to become engaged and leave for a vacation in India when she becomes a suspect in the murder of a friend. It's unnerving for Sara because she's used to being a trusted forensic investigator with answers, not a nervous suspect. Surprisingly, Sara finds insights into her feelings and into the murder as she becomes immersed in Indian culture.


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