Experiencing life as an ethnic minority while on holiday has been an interesting experience. I have been received with warmth, respect and generosity by everyone I have met and yet I am conscious I am constantly scanning my environment for fellow white travellers. I don’t feel unsafe or unwanted in this richly diverse and cultural land, quite the opposite. I don’t need to be surrounded by travellers who appear the same as me – I would say it has been a richer experience without them. Tour guides and drivers willingly share their knowledge and how to eat like a local. Young insta followers eager to take a selfie, families wanting a photo with us and their young children politely approaching. My red haired fellow traveller is particularly popular! At first this felt intrusive, especially in the heat, till we are told those asking are proud to say they have met someone from England. We are humbled.
History in this land is full of conflict and influence by governing bodies from different countries. Visiting a former British Viceroy seat of power a beautifully polished hardwood table is showcased as the place the decisions in 1947 were made that divided countries. The scale of this fresh in our minds from watching the latest Bollywood blockbuster, Bharat, 2 days before. It included scenes of families being separated and 2 million people losing their lives
And yet we are still welcomed as valued guests wherever we go. .at a sacred temple food is prepared daily and shared with everyone who queues for a place including ourselves, as visitors from a country that historically inflicted a terrible tragedy on their community.
What is in my mind is the power of forgiveness. It is the single thing we can do to make the world a better place, to be truly inclusive. Watching Martina Navratilova acknowledging the hurt her twitter comments about trans athletes caused…and seeking to better understand their lived experience is heartwarming. Compassionate. The world is changing.