When the dazzling light came shining through my solid window, it filled my eyelids with bright bloody red. I woke up thinking about the people who I have not seen for ten years. The flight attendant announced that we are ready to land. All of a sudden, I started to tremble, not knowing if we would make it. As the plane descended, my stomach quenched; it felt loopy. As the wheels touched the rigid ground, the plane started to shake some more, and there was a loud noise. All this is happening so slow in my mind, but in reality, it only lasts a couple of seconds. Those seconds contain thoughts of wonder. Will I make it down okay? Will I still be alive? I am thankful to be alive and I am delighted that I do not have to struggle each day to survive.


After the flight, I was anxious to step on the land where the origin of my culture evolved, on the country where my family is from, on the region where my ancestors lived and, in the land where the blood in my veins originated. The white plane’s engines stopped and people started gathering their belongings. My father sat beside me. As he smiled towards me while I glanced into his almond shape eyes, he appeared overjoyed. I was excited to experience a whole new understanding again. Touching the cold metal rail, I walked down the solid steps as fast as I could with excitement about my motherland, India.


I was eager to meet the relatives I had not seen for years. We arrived at the exit gates and there waiting for us were my mother’s brother and my cousins. We all greeted each other; everyone was just so happy we all kept smiling. We collected our heavy luggage into the black dusty taxi and sped off to my father’s old home. On the way, I realized several people, including children sleeping outside in the dim dark where big flies and dogs were wandering all around them. There were so many poor people. The last time I was in India, I did not acknowledge the poor residents of India. I was too young, only four years old, and did not understand the reality of India.


We finally arrived at my father’s house and unfortunately, there was no air conditioner! It was extremely hot and humid outside. That night was the most remarkable night of my life. I barely slept on the firm ground without an air conditioner wishing the tiles were cold. My father laughed at me and said, “This is the typical life of an Indian.” My father also emphasized India is one of the poorest countries in the world and people struggle to survive under a ruined government.


We were going to reside for a month in India. There was so much to see and experience. We decided to go on a road trip the next day to see the buildings and famous monuments that represented India. I was excited to see the astonishing temples and one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. The next beautiful morning, I woke up and looked out the window. I opened the window and inhaled the polluted air that made me feel lightheaded, however, the purple and orange sky mixed with the milky clouds was a once in a lifetime scene. We took off to explore the unique country. As we continued our journey, I saw several unfortunate people on the street. Every time we would stop the vehicle for a break, depressing beggars would ask for money. An American dollar was equivalent to 48 rupees, which resulted in us being extremely wealthy. I found it interesting how poor people recognized our wealth by examining our unusual clothing and high-quality vehicle. Unfortunately, I did not have enough rupees in my pocket to give to the poor children that approached me with heartbreaking looks on their faces. I remember a young girl carrying an infant, which seemed to be her brother in her arms. At that moment, my soul was greatly concerned. I closed my eyes and prayed to God. I kneeled down to the little girl and gave her some candy I had bought earlier that day. I will never forget that depressing event. That day I saw so many poor people walking around without shoes, and some without clothes. Some people had not even taken a shower in weeks, maybe even months, because of the economic problems in India. Finally, we checked into a hotel that could not compare to hotels here in Arizona. That night I realized how fortunate and how proud I am to live in Arizona.


My parents came to Arizona to seek opportunities for a better life. They have accomplished their dream, and I am fortunate and thankful to not experience the intense life of a typical Indian. The Indian people live in a very distinct type of society when compared to America. The many poor people in India are uneducated and underprivileged. On the other hand, in the US, in Arizona, an individual can reach goals beyond imagination. I have realized I am very fortunate to live in Arizona; the trip to India has made me become a more compassionate and thankful person and has changed the way I think about my life and about Arizona.