India, I am ever changed.
Though I have traveled a bit of the world in my days, it took me 40 years to get to India. Now that I’ve finally experienced a sliver of what it has to offer, I know I came here at the perfect moment in my life. I am not the same.
The only word which comes to mind to explain India is magical. Beyond magical. As one who has always kept an open yet, maybe not cynical but acute mind, magic is not a part of my vocabulary. To me magic is a farce, a fake belief in something. My scientific mind doesn’t allow for magic, but relies on cold hard facts. However, what I experienced in India was beyond scientific comprehension. It was so human it was impossible to truly grasp.
Saying India is difficult is an understatement. Anyone saying it’s easy is lying to you. Traveling in India is jumping head first into deep end of the pool. Six-hour train rides take 13 hours. A 15-minute drive across town can take 2 hours. As a white person you will be constantly harassed for wares everywhere you go. It’s polluted, overpopulated, and garbage is *everywhere*. People are *literally* starving and dying on the streets. Life and death live side by side unlike anywhere I’ve seen before, especially in our western world.
Engulfed in all the sights, sounds, smells and experiences can be too much for some, and at times even for me. But to fully embrace India one must let go. Fully let go. To go against the flow is impossible in India. You’ll just hurt yourself and get nowhere fast. But once you embrace the now you start to see the magic of India, weaved in the myriad of colors of the sarees, in the present, kind, content eyes of everyone passing by, in the mystical mantras and songs, in the kindness to travelers I have NEVER seen in all my travels. Even as I write this I can feel it all within, a deep-seated human spirit of kindness and compassion. I felt so loved by everyone I met.
India is a journey, not a vacation.
We all go through transitions in our lives, small and huge, and 2017 has been the biggest transitional time for me – a hard reset if you will. Those close to me know all the things I’ve endured this year. I will never be the same, and I have accepted it, even embraced it. This India journey has transformed me. It was exactly what I needed at this moment in my life and returned me to my path. It made me face so much within. It made me feel again. It made me see again.
I am ever changed.
“Om ganga mai ganga mai ganga mai mai”