Arriving in India, I had no idea what to expect. I had researched all of the blogs, National Geographic stories and travel sites. Nothing could prepare me for what I was about to learn. Although my first experiences in India were on the hotel property, once I ventured out, the amount of welcoming and excitement of an foreigner wanting to know more about Indian culture was, at first, overwhelming.
Jumping in head first, I started exploring neighborhoods and villages that most would not venture to. It is humbling experience to walk down a narrow sidewalk being stared at because your arms are covered in tattoos and your skin color is completely different. Many Indians would (and have) grabbed my hand and just started asking questions.
These two brothers were with their father leaving the Tukaram Samadhi Temple and the boys ran up to me. Touching my arm, the oldest said, "Are these tattoos?" The father held back but smiled at me. I waved acknowledging that their questions were fine. I told them, "Yes." They were amazed. Then, to my surprise the oldest being about 12 years of age, at the most, started the motorbike, the dad hopped on the back, the younger one in the middle and they took off.
I ran into them again down the road near the opening to the river. The oldest boy asked me if I wanted to eat and go swimming with them. I wanted to but my journey of 6 miles on foot going back to my hotel was in the front of my mind. Also, I had never ridden 4 on a motorbike before. I declined.
The entire walk back, I was filled with a love and warmth. A love that can not be broken between human beings that are complete strangers and a warmth that will not be forgotten.