- When you arrive in India, it “assaults” a Western traveler with total sensory overload. The smells, sounds, colors, and tastes are so different and intense. For instance, I come from Minnesota—the “Land of Beige.” The women (and many men) dress like beautiful birds. The range of colors in their clothing is astounding. I never knew some of those shades even existed! They also often wear silk so the colors shine even more brilliantly. India helped me as a writer because it challenged the way I experienced the world. That’s important because what makes a story interesting is the writer’s ability to reveal the world in a new and different way to the reader.
- India helped me as a writer because of the mixing of people there. It has over eight major religions, the second largest population in the world, and dozens of culturally different groups. There are problems, of course, but Indians get along pretty well. India helped me as a writer because of these differences. We have diversity in the U.S. but nothing as complex as in India. India helped me as a writer to see the complexities and be able to translate some of them into my characters and how they work together with other characters in my stories.
- India helped me as a writer because of the fact their religious practices are so different from the Western experience. I learned from this. The Hindu religion is tied so closely with the culture. For instance, Hindus believe in reincarnation. That means whatever your present situation in life is now, by doing good works you can come back in a new, better life. This creates a passive response to life’s difficulties—“it’s just fate. There’s nothing I can do,” people say. India helped me as a writer to learn what motivates people and what they fear/hope about in their lives. India taught this to me so that I can add to my characters. Not necessarily to create a character who is a Hindu but to better understand how religion motivates all people.
India helped me as a writer by “shocking” me awake to dozens of new experiences that forced me to see the world in a new perspective. Even if you’re not a writer, this experience is valuable for anyone’s growth as a human citizen of the world.