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How India Wakes Up

As you read this, my friend James-Michael Smith and I are in Bhubaneswar, India, preparing to work with two different pastoral networks.

Here are some reflections about “waking up in India” that I summarized on my second trip here back in 2012.

One of our hosts here in the city of Balasore — a man who has spent some time in the United States — explained to me the difference between waking up in the US and waking up in India.

“In America, you wake up to silence,” he said. “In India, we wake up to noise.”

As I woke up today (Thursday morning in India), I understood what he was talking about.

See, if you live in a typical subdivision in Steele Creek, Lake Wylie, or Fort Mill, whatever noise surrounds your morning ritual probably comes from inside your house: babies crying, children talking, coffee pouring, or TV talking heads pontificating.

Outside your house is a different story. With the exception of an occasional school bus or speeding car, the wee hours of the morning are as quiet as they are dark.

Not so here. When you wake up in India — or, more accurately, when you get woken up in India — it is to a cacophony of people, vehicles, and horns. Mostly horns.

Remember the vuvuzela horns from the World Cup Soccer matches in South Africa a couple of years ago? That’s what we have here. At 4 a.m. And 4:01 a.m. And 4:02 a.m. And on and on.

The sounds of life, struggle, survival, and ambition on the Indian streets every morning.

Most definitely not the sounds of silence.

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