I wrote this on the flight back, thinking that I would edit it at some point. Upon rereading this several times over the last couple months, I’ve decided to keep the thoughts and emotions intact from its original writing.
I wake up on the plane, almost halfway from our sixteen plus hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles from a dream recollecting every moment of the last two weeks with a deep and profound sadness (not to mention the undoing of both Ayurvedic massages of the last week, now every bone and muscle in my body aching – hating me). When the recent past is filled with such amazing memories, the rear view mirror is filled with nostalgia and a sense of emptiness it’s all over. And all you wish for is to press the rewind button on the tape recorder. Much the same way I felt living an epic ten days last year in September when I celebrated with my family and close friends the ten year wedding anniversary of two dear friends followed by my brother’s wedding a few days later in Chicago followed again by another of our best friend’s wedding a week later in Los Angeles, the end of these two weeks remind me of exactly how I felt then the end of those ten days that I do know at the end of these two weeks. A deep and profound sadness that it’s gone, but happiness and joy too for having lived them.
India is incredible. India with my best friend, my mother, my grandfather, my uncles and my aunties and my cousins is that much more incredibly amazing. Along the way, I got to talk with my father, one of my brothers and my sister on her birthday over the phone; calls that meant so much to me, moreso than any phone call of the past decade (cos you appreciate those conversations that much more when connecting over a phone call is not a given), a reminder that I need to call my family and friends more than I normally do. Once again, a reminder to show and tell the people in my life that I love, that I love them, to not be afraid of those words, but rather own them, and to say them with no expectations of those words back, though you know they feel it too, and if you do receive them back, the words just mean that much more. When it’s all said and done, you really never do know when is the last time you’ll see the people in your lives that you love. How wonderful a feeling it is to know that the last words spoken and/or the last actions lived were words and actions of love.
For an entire week straight, and for most of another week, we were disconnected from the outside world, with no internet or spotty internet (at hotels). And it felt good to focus on what was in front of me rather than what was on Facebook or Instagram, a reminder to be active participants in our lives rather than passively watch it go by us. It also forced me to observe and be aware of everything, recognize its potential importance and effect (or lack thereof), as it was happening in real time. The good thing was I had a buddy looking out for me; and I was looking out for him.
India is not for the faint of heart. She is an overload of the senses. Life is both slow paced and running at breakneck speed. Everyday on her streets is a fight to stay alive (not exaggerating here). And yet, people act as if they have all the time in the world and that what’s happening right now is not as important as what will happen in a few minutes (read: Indian Standard Time). She is full of smells, from the wonderfully exotic spices of her food and scents to the pungency of a walk down her streets adorned with trash everywhere. She is emblazoned with colour, from charms on her faces to designs on her hands to that of her clothes; all the world should embrace life in technicolour the way they do here. India’s taste buds are always roaring. Food in India is a spiritual experience; and in my opinion the best experience in the world.
India is an ode to love; and these last few words is my ode to her. My ode also carries with it remembrances of my love for my family and friends. I guess it’s all one in the same. During my entire trip, everything I did and said and thought while in India reminded me of times I lived, things I said and things I thought with my family and friends. They are India and India is them. After all, India is all about love. And Indians love to live and more importantly they love to love.
Of course, I’ll close with a quote from Shantaram:
“This is not like any other place. This is India. Everyone who comes here falls in love – most of us fall in love many times over. And the Indians, they love most of all … But more than any other people in the world, the Indians know how to love one another.“
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