This is my first of what I hope to be many updates from India, though it’s still uncertain how often we’ll be running into wireless internet. We are, after all, heading into one of the poorest parts of the planet, so WiFi access may not be a priority there. It’s odd that I’m about to enter a culture essentially opposite my own, filled with earth-shattering poverty, and my major concern at the moment is how often I’ll be able to access the internet.
Is "odd" the right word? No, it's "sad." That's it.
A long delay on the runway in Houston threw our careful timetable right out the window, and as I grew increasingly concerned that we might be forced to spend the next 24 hours in the airport in Newark, New Jersey, world-renowned as a place of hope and opportunity. I can tell you from experience that while airplane rides are depressing and claustrophobic chambers, they’ve got nothing on the Newark Airport.
Fortunately, the employees at the Newark airport are just as incompetent at sending off airplanes as they are at receiving, and we arrived in New Jersey with plenty of time to spend a merry few hours on their runway as well. It’s been an exciting day. Is "exciting" the right word?
In the meantime, we're trying to get to know each other better as people. I kid, of course. We’re all watching the in-flight movies, except for Rob, who was ecstatic to learn that the screen on the back of seat in front of him would allow him to play poker with other people on the plane. If that machine accepts credit cards, Rob will be broke before we land.
The hours tick quietly by. I’ve spent most of the past 24 hours on board airplanes, all of it a daze of uncomfortable naps and comedies set in the 80’s for no reason (I’ll give you Hot Tub Time Machine, but name one thing about Take Me Home Tonight that lets it make more sense in 1984, outside of the fact that Topher Grace works at an actual video store. Also, how winning is Teresa Palmer in that movie? She's just fantastic). I feel like I’ve forgotten what it’s like to stand up.
I signed onto this trip with very little foreknowledge of what was to happen on it. I have only a vague grasp of our itinerary, a piecemeal understanding of our intentions, and virtually no knowledge of Indian culture at all. Fortunately, I will be responsible for very little on this trip except to film and photograph the interactions of other members of the team. My whole experience here will be filtered through the narrow worldview of a viewfinder. I may not have to speak to anyone at all.
Truth be told, though, I prefer not knowing. I'm certain that India is going to surprise me. And (I think) I’m ready to be surprised. If this trip is about opening eyes to the need here, the first set of eyes to be opened will clearly have to be mine.
We're circling around for a landing, so I better finish this up. I'll try to post this as soon as I can, and then we’ll see if I get a chance to post again.
Pray for us.