Indians Love their Babies
This thought just keeps swirling around my head. I never saw a stroller in India. I saw parents holding their babies everywhere. Passing them on to other relatives. Kissing them. Tickling them. Smiling into their eyes. Never letting them go. Indians love their babies. On the trains, in restaurants, at tourist sites, walking on the street – moms and dads holding their kids’ hands, reassuring them, cuddling them, nuzzling them. I was so struck by the love, the acceptance, the humor, the smiles, the eyes. Such beautiful, amazing people.
And then there is this lovely tradition of Indians wanting to have their photo taken with foreigners. I can just imagine their photo albums filled with faces of white strangers – “Look ! We met these lovely people at the Taj Mahal. They love our country.” Schoolboys on a field trip shyly approached us at the Agra Fort – “photo?” Soon most of the class was upon us, crouching down to form rows to fit them all in! Families on vacation from the south, “photo?”
Often we would take photos of the kids posing for us – they didn’t seem that interested in seeing the digital picture – they were just so happy to have their photo taken! It was so sweet.
But back to the Indians loving their babies. I mentioned this to a woman on the trip and she said everyone loves their babies. I wish that was true. What I witness everyday on 36th Street, in the neighborhood where my shop is, makes me doubt that sometimes. I know they love their babies – but they most certainly don’t know how to express it. The aggression and anger I see from these parents is heartbreaking. I know it’s the way they were raised so I fear their kids have no chance. I rarely see love and affection between mothers and their babies on 36th Street. I see anger and frustration. I see drinking and smoking. I hear yelling and cursing. I wonder why it’s this way.
So this is why I was so struck by the love and warmth I saw in India. The biggest smiles I’ve ever seen were on the faces of these children held so closely by their mom or dad, or auntie, or uncle, or cousin, or friend. Passing babies back and forth from one loved one to another – never letting them go. On the airplane from Newark to Delhi. On the train from Delhi to Amritsar. In the market place in Jaipur. On the colonial streets of Shimla. In the quiet pathways in Dharamsala. By the Ganges in Haridwar. I’ll never forget this. Indians so love their babies.
to see photos from the trip, go to facebook.com, search for susan weis, and proceed from there…