PICTURE this, you are in the slums of Kolkata, animals roam the streets, rubbish as far as you can see and people eating, cooking, washing and playing around you.
Poverty is evident wherever you go.
Now picture your life in Bendigo and how different the environment, the lifestyle and how diverse the people are.
The gap between the poor and the rich continue to grow in India, while Australia faces some unique pressures of its own.
So when a group of people from Bendigo visited one of the biggest countries on the planet, they were confronted with an environment they had never seen before.
The trip to India, organised by the Bendigo Football Netball League, saw chief Paul Byrne, his son Connor, AFL central Victoria regional operations manager Justin Abrams, sports chaplain Bruce Claridge, his wife Jan and duo Toni and Ben West explore the Kolkata region.
While the frenetic nature of the city confronted the tourists, they were all greeted with smiles wherever they went.
The inaugural trip was a first for the BFNL and the brainchild of Bruce Claridge, who decided to introduce the Indian adventure as a different end of season holiday for players of the league.
He has bold plans to continue to build on the relationship between the two countries, with the hope that one day an exhibition footy match involving Bendigo players would be played in India.
Bruce said while the trip was about introducing Aussie Rules to youngsters it was also about providing educational materials and medical supplies to those in need.
“It was an extremely successful trip,” he said.
“We held clinics in the slums of Kolkata and began to build relationships with people in their community, including working closely with pastor Kaushik Das, who has dedicated his life to help others.
“The link we made with AFL India can hopefully give hope to young people in the area.”
Paul said the trip was something he would remember for the rest of his life.
“Words really can’t describe how valuable the experience was,” he said.
“I haven’t done anything like this before and I have travelled to a few different countries.”
As part of the trip the Bendigo team visited Mother Teresa’s house and its nearby respite centre.
“There were two dormitories - one for males and one for females and it was all run by volunteers,” Paul said.
“We got to listen to their stories and talk to them about their lives.
“It was a trip with a difference.
"It was moving and confronting.”
Paul said one of the best parts of the trip was sharing tips with youngsters about Australia’s favourite game.
“We had clinics with kids” he said.
“We would be handballing and kicking around and then all of a sudden there would be about 40 kids out of nowhere wanting to play, it was amazing.”
Paul said sport was a universal language.
“Sport is so important to the people of India,” he said.
“They love soccer and cricket.”
Paul said from a league’s perspective it would be great to make the Indian trip an annual initiative and hoped more people would jump on board.
“The Indian trip was born out of the idea to give some direction to players who perhaps need a wake-up call,” he said.
“Bruce is a sports chaplain and has been involved with some of our clubs and now we are hoping to get involved with Sports Chaplaincy Australia and get a chaplain working with all clubs because mental health is an important issue.”