Published: July 23rd 2012July 18th 2012
Cutting the Cake!
These photos are all courtesy of the talented Shachi Misra who documented my and Zarine's combined birthday party... and are a gift to all those who complain that there are never any pics of me :D
As always, as the time for my departure from any particular place draws near, I give in to ruminations on the lessons an area and its people have taught me. India has been perhaps the wisest, most encouraging educator I’ve had yet. I’ve learned more about myself, and the workings of this crazy world, in the past five months than the previous 26 years put together. What’s more is that I’ve become aware that I’m learning lessons, even as they are being taught. Before, it was only in hindsight – from a safe emotional and physical distance – that I could look back and the see the inherent value in any particular situation; the reason why I met certain people or faced certain situations. The newfound ability to directly discern the merits of a given circumstance has opened me up to learn more, faster. It’s made me even more grateful for all the opportunities for growth that life has constantly provided me with, and grateful for all the people who’ve been my tireless teachers. Thank you for your wisdom, your love, and your support.
I suppose that the wide-eyed wonder with which I’ve fallen in love with India is rather
Birthday girls get the first bite!
stereotypical for a foreigner in a foreign land. Perhaps it’s only from their unaffected and respected place on the fringe of society that visitors can be so enraptured by a country in spite of its shortcomings. For this is the way I love India, despite its inadequacies, its disorganization and corruption, despite its traffic, pollution and undrinkable water. I love it for all that thrives in the face of adverse conditions. And, above all else, I love it for its people, who have been a constant source of inspiration for me. I’m continuously moved by their smiles, their perseverance, their respect for the sacred, and their dance moves. Simply stated, I don’t want to leave.
Departures and goodbyes are always bittersweet. The sadness of leaving the comforts of the familiar behind combined with the excitement of the unknown that lies ahead. But this is more than bittersweet. It’s an unwilling departure. It may come down to literally having to be kicked out the door. I’m hoping that, through the act of writing this, I’ll remind myself that the world is full of possibilities. Life always grants little miracles, regardless of geographical location.
That’s as much as
Me, Umber, and Zarine.
I wrote on my last day in Bombay. Then I got on a train to Kolkata. I felt like I was leaving a lover. There was an emptiness in the pit of my stomach, a tightness in my throat, and a heaviness in my heart. I kept trying to imagine myself landing in Bangkok the following day, rock-climbing on a pristine beach, diving – doing things I love, but that I just couldn’t get excited about. Suddenly, I couldn’t bear the thought of going. And, just like that, I decided that I wouldn’t go to the airport in the morning. My plane ticket is non-refundable and non-transferable, and my visa expires in 10 days. I’m not sure exactly what the plan is. All I know is that I'm staying in India, and that it’ll all work out in the end. It always does.
There are more photos below