Similar differences !

Walking by. Or may be flying past !

I have been asked ‘what was ONE moment / event in your US trip, that stays with you?’ Prefacing the answer with ‘choosing one is difficult’ is as close to truth as truth itself. Not only that, it is fashionable you see. Any famous director worth his film roll has these first words in response to ‘whats the best movie that you have directed?’!

In my trip, the grandeur of man made creations stand tall in memory best matched by the moments spent soaking up oodles of natural beauty and the sheer majesticity of nature, left less touched. Those were truly moments that took my breath away. Quite obviously a few will get detailed in these pages.

While those moments took my breath away, there were other moments that filled me with LIFE. Much as the mind races to recount the stories of the bay-buildings and beauty, quite unsurpassed as they are, the heart wills to share these other stories.

Stories of people. Moments tucked away in the suppressed mutter of a word, the resounding splendour of a ringing laugh, a quiet exchange of an idea, a shared understanding through a glance, handshakes, brush pasts and many others, all heralding simple conversation! Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Desis, Mexicans, Britons, Australians and many others. And ofcourse, Americans. Including the original Americans!

We met her in the Grand Canyon. Just as we finished our helicopter ride. ‘How was it, she asked ?” The slight quiver of her voice gave away an elderly age that was otherwise hidden by the spontaneity and a joyful zest in her words. That got the conversation started.

‘Mother nature maintains it for us. Like she has been doing for hundreds of years’, she said. With a hand movement that required her to take one hand off the buggy wheel! As we echoed her thoughts and waxed further eloquence, she warmed up ever more.

‘Been living here, ever since I know. Having Mother nature taking care of your backyard is worth it all’. With a wistful twist, she added, ‘She makes the big mountains, small rivers, and smaller people’. Her voice trailed off, allowing silence to complete the sentence !

We chatted for a while, about life, living, giving and contentment. Even as she maneuvered the buggy on a terrain that was tough, sporting an intelligence that was profound and an attitude that was humbling.

The Hualapai people, as they are called, are a native American tribe who live in the mountains of Arizona. Markedly distinct in their features, if not in their costume.

One of the attractions of the Grand Canyon is a skywalk, atop the canyon. Some sort of a cantilever bridge, built on an edge of the Canyon to give people a REAL view ! With strength enough to support 71 filled up Boeing 747s ! Some chutzpah ! Isnt it !?!

skywalk atop the canyon

Viewed by some as a money spinner that is so vital for survival and addressing basic problems that the people face here. Yet others see it as a violation of a sacred land!

Which brings me back to the lady and her sign off statement. I told her that I was Indian as well. But a different Indian !

With a twinkle in her eye, a sparkling smile on her lips and a warm hand placed on my shoulder, she responded, “The more different we seem the more alike we are. We are all from mother nature. Come again young man. It was nice talking to you”

I thought of us and our pangs around ‘development’, tradition, preservation, distractions and such else. It seemed to be the story of the world ! “The more different we seem, the more alike we are !”


12 thoughts on “Similar differences !

  1. Neha says:

    Some people touch your heart in such a simple manner!

    Amazing shots as always!

  2. Kinmin says:

    Beautiful post Kavi! 🙂 You have inspired me to definitely visit Grand Canyon during my stay in the US!
    I went to the American Indian Museum in Washington D.C. a few months ago, and it was a great experience. An American Indian gave us a tour of the museum and talked a lot about their history and culture and the struggles they faced over the years. Many tribes, cultures, and languages have been wiped out. You should visit the museum when you get a chance.
    Its sad to see that India is treating her tribal people in a similar way, and its scary to think of the consequences.

  3. Pearl says:

    How lovely, Kavi.

    You know, I wondered about what you thought of Americans — and then I realized that that would be like asking you what you thought of animals or plants. There are just too many variances.

    Glad to know you met an Indian. 🙂 We have quite a few in Minnesota as well — of both kinds! Here, when someone says “He is Indian” then the response invariably is “What kind? Dots or feathers?” Either India Indians or Native Americans. 🙂 So many people!

    I really must see India some day. I think I would be unable to blink or breathe for fear of missing something…


    p.s. Kinmin is right. Like so many lands “claimed” by people who “discovered” them — North America, South America, Australia…– the aboriginal peoples don’t stand a chance. Humans — we are not always humane…

  4. Pearl says:

    How lovely, Kavi.

    I wondered what you thought of the Americans you came across — and then realized that it would be like asking what you thought of animals or plants… There are just so many!


  5. SG says:

    The differences and similarities of the human race have often taken me by surprise. And that has made me more keen than ever in getting to know people, and the places they live in. The history, geography, psychology and sociology of it all.

  6. Arundhati says:

    This one struck a chord, lovely post

  7. @Pearl LOL Glad to know that I am supposed to be a dot Indian …:-)

    Kavi, what a great post. And it strengthens my belief that when you move out to the “natural/rural/” areas of any country, you will find folks who have that unwavering unstinting faith in Nature. Loved reading about the elderly lady driver .

    Awaiting more posts now about your further travels …

  8. As always enjoyed reading this post. Looking forward for more on USA.


  9. Lalitha says:

    Kavi, lovely post.I just loved it.. waiting for more……..

  10. Aleta says:

    They didn’t have the skywalk when I went there years ago. Greg and I talked about possibly going there when we visit this year. Did you go to the Northern Rim?

    Love the pictures of the Indian and love her words, so very true 🙂

  11. Insignia says:

    When we actaully reach out, we realize all of us are the same – sharing similar views; even though we may be separated culturally and geographically.

    You will remember that lady forever 🙂 Nice pictures.

  12. dr.antony says:

    “There are realities we all share, regardless of our nationality, language, or individual tastes. As we need food, so do we need emotional nourishment: love, kindness, appreciation, and support from others. We need to understand our environment and our relationship to it. We need to fulfill certain inner hungers: the need for happiness, for peace of mind for wisdom.”

    Donald Walters. Insignia said the same!

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