Ode to India, thanks for opening my eyes a little wider (pic of my 3 fav places: Ladakh, Hampi, & Udaipur)
As I take off for Australia, I feel the nerves spinning in my belly, the anxiety making it impossible to sit still, and the unknown terrifying my always need a plan attitude. I’m showing up in a city more expensive than Chicago with around $2K in the bank, no job, no home, and my only belongings on my back. I try to tell myself it’ll all work out. This is the next step in the journey, tons of travelers do this a year, but am I ready for the Western world? Consumerism back in my face, access to anything and everything at any time of the day, understanding the people around me? Part of me is glad to be able to run out to the store knowing I can purchase what I need. Never worrying about losing electricity, my choice for a hot/cold shower, and tp accompanied in every bathroom. Part me loves not understanding a word as I walk down the street. Now I’ll hear everyone bitching about things that would never matter in India. Part of me wants to say in this crazy, overpopulated, trash-filled country and never leave. I can already picture my last day in India. Eating at every food stall, shoveling down spicy fried deliciousness as if I’ll never taste it again, a chai here a chai there, namastes to every person I pass, oh I’m not ready India, I’m not ready to say g’bye, and I’m sure I’ll climb on board tears flooding my eyes and think of all the things I’ll miss….
The colors that blind you at every turn, old men holding hands, delicious street food and chai, women in saris, men in lungis, palm trees next to mountains, bindis/tikkas (tho I bought a year supply), the devotion to religion if it be Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, etc, Festivals, puja ceremonies, detailed henna snaking up women’s arms, monkeys swinging in the trees, smiles and hellos from every stranger you pass, traditional dances, camels in the desert, the breathtaking Himalayas, dosas & samosas, riding scooters for $2/day, the Muslim call to prayer, beautiful Indian children shyly staring at you (well everyone staring at you), the incredible hospitality from true-hearted souls, mouthwatering fruits, the smell of beedies in the streets, winning a serious haggle even if you didnt even want it, local live music,Tibetan momo’s, Tibetan people, saying Julley in Ladakh, Sadhus, being on the back of a motorcycle, eating with your hands, remarkable handcrafted goods, Hindi/Bollywood music, candle lit hangouts during power outages, elephants walking down the streets, Old Monk Rum, new friends from sleeper class, eating and drinking like a king for well under $10, the cows walking down the street (even though I stepped in their holy shit enough times to promise me a spot in Heaven) and lastly my favorite the mesmerizing Indian sun.
India you have stolen my heart. You awoke a happiness, a spiritual side in me I never knew was there. I had no intention of ever coming to your country, but you had it planned all along. I hope I can remember all you’ve taught me as I head back in to the Western world where tv steals time, consumerism empties wallets, and people forget what compassion means. I thank Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, Krishna, Lakshmi, Buddha, Allah, Jesus, and God for my time in your beautiful, ever growing country. Some may be scared of what you hold, sometimes I agree, but in five months you taught me more valuable knowledge than my university degree. I’ll be back till then my heart will ache and my mind will continue to replay me all the wonders you have shown me. Dhanyavad.
With all my love, Namaste