India 2016: Sunrise in Udaipur – 29 March

Having been up since 4:00 AM, excited for the day to begin, I decide to walk up to the rooftop of the Hotel Thamla Haveli at 5:35 AM. The lights under the walking bridge to my left and of the entrance to the square across from me shimmer onto the lake. The Muslim call to prayer heard in the distance accompanied by the rhythmic thud of clothes being washed against the ghat across from us on the lake, the sun has yet to rise while the moon brightly shines above me while I sit under the gondola jutting against the end of the building overlooking the waters below.

It’s quite beautiful.
It’s quite serene.

Originally we had intended to leave tonight by sleeper bus, taking the entire night for the drive to Jaisalmer. However, while we’ve heard only good things about Jaisalmer, none of us are ready to leave Udaipur. Seven days into our adventure, while every city has had its share of charm unique to them, there is something truly magical about Udaipur. While not pristine like Singapore (which country is?), it’s not even remotely dirty like Varanasi. While not even even close to the energy and bustle of Mumbai, it’s not in want for things to do. While the temperatures got into the nineties, for the most part we did not feel uncomfortable. Along the way, we have met many people along the way, from artists to shop owners (of handmade bags and custom suits to medicine, etc.) to massage parlors (significantly different from the ones we are used to in the States) to restaurants to just people on the street. On more than one occasion, I received the comment “are you Indian?” not to mention that Derek and DaveRisner without any doing on their part, invited many stares, not unlike the other places we’ve visited (except Mumbai).

Without a doubt, our best encounter came when, towards the end of our tour through The City Palace (a magnificent fort highlight the Maharana Singh dynasty from the early 1500s onto the 1980s), a group of over fifty thirteen-year-olds from a school also touring the palace came up to Derek, wanting to know all things America. By the time I joined in, Derek was asked to take a group picture with all the kids and afterwards gave a “military” clap in unison to give their thanks for his time, ending in a series of high-fives and handshakes. We walked away to the throng of them saying goodbyes, wanting selfies, and flashing their pearly whites showcasing their wonderful smiles.

A truly magical, epic experience.

So that’s what I was thinking of this morning as I sit here watching the sun rise, taking pictures, writing, just breathing it all in — drinking life.

It’s also tough to not think about how fortunate I am able to live the life that I lead, so many of the opportunities afforded to me doneso because my parents perhaps had the same thoughts I did when they were growing up in India, thinking what was next? And whether next meant India? Or elsewhere, which is what it ended up being, and so my brothers, sister and I were raised in the States. I think about that too. What’s next? While I think about that, I appreciate what came before me too, and appreciate this very moment.

A sunrise in Udaipur.
It’ll get you.

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