How India Affects Your Senses

Journal Prompt: What in India has affected our senses?

I would say it is impossible not to have every human sense affected while visiting India. So I’m going to break down the sense and list what the affects have been for me personally.


India is both beautiful and ugly. While riding in the train and looking out at the countryside I could appreciate the beauty it held with the lush grass and trees. Once away from the towns, the dust does not settle on ever item and the beauty is able to how through.



On the other hand, in the towns and cities the pollution, trash, dead animals and fecal waste are impossible to ignore. Human and animal feces and urine is everywhere from the sidewalks, roadways, train stations, back alleys, etc. The bathrooms on the trains go directly to the tracks and it’s just a hole to pee and poo in. I, by the way, mastered the art of the pee/poo hole….there is no avoiding the smells.

How to pee on an Indian train.

How to pee on an Indian train.

The garbage is piled up nearly everywhere and animals as well as humans pick through it in hopes of finding anything edible or of some type of value. Also affecting the eyes is the constant smoke of things being burned with the purpose to dispose of trash, keep warm or for ceremonial purposes.

2 train ride 054

Taking a wiz

Taking a wiz

There are also beautiful monuments and tombs in India. The Red Fort, The Abandoned City and of course, the Taj Mahal were breath-taking.

HOINA is beautiful, full of colorful mosaics and smiling children and adults. If I were single and childless, I could live here and make this my life.

Day 1 HOINA 089


The noise at times is nearly unbearable. The constant horn blowing is fucking annoying as hell. This took me the longest to adjust to because I am mentally agitated by beeping, tapping and clicking noises. This ranges from someone chewing with their mouth open or constantly sniffling (happens often in India, not just by the Indians) to the horns blowing incessantly. The only time it didn’t bother me was New Year’s Eve during the day when I laid down for a nap and the horns almost sounded like music as I drifted off for a two hours snooze.

Beep freaking Beep!

Beep freaking Beep!

At HOINA, it is much quieter, at least after the children go to bed. LOL I enjoy listening to the wild animals, especially the birds. They chatter and sometime sound like screaming monkeys. The baby goats are adorable and they mew like kittens and the cows….well, the cows go moo.  There are no foxes here.

A 6 day old kid!

A 6 day old kid!


The smell of India with the exception of the food is just vile. Vile really isn’t a strong enough word to describe the smell. First of all there is the fecal matter and urine that reeks, followed by the burning of wood or cow poop that also affects the eyes. The trip on the Ganges was the most unpleasant experience as far as smells were concerned. I wrapped my face in my sweater to keep the smell from permanently damaging the lining of my nostrils. The cremation ceremony smell was unpleasant, not that I expected anything less but seriously, hands down, the cow shit everywhere is the worst. Sacred or not, their poo is rank.

One smelly sacred cow

One smelly sacred cow

The polluted Ganges River

The polluted Ganges River

At least at HOINA the entire campus and the road outside of the orphanage is clean. There is nothing they can do about the polluted stream running through the property, but all trash is promptly removed and we are able to breath fresh air! If only all of India were this clean and pleasant to smell. The children are given daily showers and the building are swept and mopped after every meal.

The stream through HOINA is green with a top layer of oily slime.

The stream through HOINA is green with a top layer of oily slime.


The food is amazing. There has only been one meal where I did not like anything and I snuck back to my room with Caitlin and chowed down on French’s fried onions, cheddar and bacon squeezy cheese, sliced pepperoni and Pringle’s salt and vinegar chips. We followed that up with the Snickers bars and felt satisfied for the time being. Other than that bad lunch experience, the tastes have been amazing and I am pretty much willing to try anything. This morning Sarayna and I were watching Tupreti cook and thought she was shaving cheese. A small piece fell to the table where Sarayna and I were snapping sugar peas. Sarayna picked it up and closely examined it, taking a sniff; put couldn’t determine what it was. I held out my hand and she dropped the morsel in. I squeezed in and it was soft so I popped it into my mouth. Saranya’s eyes bulged but I happily announced it was sugar. “Oh my God you’re brave!” she laughed. I laughed also but acknowledged, “Sometimes I act before I think.”



sugar peas 001


This is interesting to write about because touching and being touched are very different. I am not accustomed to children being so aggressive in touching me. It’s not that I don’t like children but once one, then two, then three are pulling on me, hanging from me or right in my face, it gets overwhelming. And in addition to being overwhelmed the weight of the girls is very stressful to my back. I can feel my spine twisting as the girls wrap their arms around me tightly or pull my arms in different directions. I honestly believe this is why I have found spending time at the boys campus more enjoyable. The boys are respectful of personal space because I am female and do not touch me at all. We talk, laugh and play cricket without my body feeling like it is being pulled in multiple directions. Also, my personal sense of touch came alive when I picked up the cricket bat for the first time and took a swing, smashing the ball into the outfield. Immediately after that my sense of hearing was delighted as the boys let out a loud “Woooooooooo!!!!” followed by clapping and yelling, “Good hit sister!” That made my day, maybe even my entire trip, to feel so accepted in their game. I can’t wait to play in the tournament with them and I feel honored to be asked. Caitlin and I are crushers!!

They love to be close!

They love to be close!

Allie, Sarah, Caitlin and I played cricket with the boys!  It was awesome!

Allie, Sarah, Caitlin and I played cricket with the boys! It was awesome!

Tonight the children open their Christmas gifts…I plan to video tape the mass gift opening!

Peace and Love and only good smells,



  1. ellen melchiondo says:

    Patty, that was a wonderful and sensual post about your experiences in India! I think you look well and happy in spite of everything. Thank you, Ellen

  2. fantastic post… hugs

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