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Published: October 30th 2012
It's been four days since I have arrived here in India and I think I have felt every emotion a person can feel. Sadness at the thought of leaving friends and family, fear of the unknown, total comfort and total discomfort, disgust, love, serenity, frustration, stupidity for wanting to come alone and happiness to have made it and courage for staying. Many before me have experienced India, f
riends told me what to expect, what to take with me, what to say ect.. but what i realize as I sit here now trying to describe my last few days is I can't. India is indescribable, like no place I have ever been. Its a place so intertwined that you have extreme poverty side by side to the posh upscale areas, old nearly crumbling buildings housing beautiful families or groups of shamans.
I have to say my first six hours in Delhi I wanted to cry, I wanted to go home. I was so overwhelmed, overwhelmed by the noise, by the people, and by the constant honking. I kept thinking about what I gave up to come here, why I thought this was so exciting was now so terrifying. So as I sat down for breakfast contemplating how badly I had just been conned and that maybe traveling without my sister (whom is a master barterer) was not such a good idea. People have told me that I will have to grow thicker skin being in India, I will have to learn to say no, to yell if I need to. They tell me I can't be how I am back home, I can't just talk to anyone, I can't just trust everyone has good intentions.
Then next to me sits this older women from Brazil, and she tells me she too has traveled to India alone for two weeks and she is angry. Like me she arrived the previous night and spoke of being hassled, she spoke about everyone being out to 'get money from her'. I realized this was my hindrance I didn't want to leave the hotel out of fear of what people have told me happens not from my own experience. So I said goodbye to my new friend and wished her well and I left the hotel. I was way behind and had very luckily found two other travelers headed to Rishikesh, also having not booked a train so we decided to share a taxi. This taxi ride was 6 hours and not once did my counterparts nor I talk. Not because I was practicing for the next three weeks but because we were holding our breaths and chanting the same mantra ".. Please don't Die, Please Survive".
As we arrived at my destination I got out of the car (okay I leapt out) It took everything I had not to kiss the ground. I was so elated to be out of the taxi that my mind didn't fully process where I was. I got my bag, thanked the driver and walked to the Ashram where I would be spending the next 22 days. The fear of the unknown started to creep in, not knowing what to expect or what was expected of me I walked onto the grounds. As soon as I entered the fear dissipated, I was standing surrounded by the most beautiful gardens its as if the sounds of India disappeared behind these walls.
So the first four days have been intense. The program at the ashram is far more difficult then I ever imagined but I am learning heaps. While this is probably the most quiet I have ever been in all my life I am beginning to make friends. My teacher or 'Guru' is an insanely animated old man whom loves to swear. He reminds me of muffasa the baboon off the lion king mixed with the wisdom of Buddha whom drank fifty energy drinks before each class.
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