India is like the 10 seconds flash before your death. Everything reminds you of someone or something relevant and makes you reconsider and reevaluate each aspect of your life. It makes you feel very small and very fortunate at the same time.
So, why do we come to India? Are we educated and informed about it? Are we able to understand its ways and culture? Can we observe, not judge and stay humble at the same time?
Why do we travel so far? To take millions of pictures and tick that off the list? To do a lot of cheap shopping? Eat exotic food? Ignore the beggars, starving animals and feel happy about our full pockets, thanking God that we have a nicer life?
I am sure many of you thought about all these aspects. Really, why do we come to places like India? To go home and feel thankful for the things we own? Or see the wonders of the world as a treat for a life spent working? What do we gain out of it? Some chose to travel wisely, others chose to remain comfortable in their ignorance and others to go beyond and change their complete lifestyle to a more genuine and simple way of living.
I am not sure what my answer looks and feels like. I thought about my family and pets more than usual. I missed them more than usual. I wanted to be home several times. Not having a return ticket didn’t feel so cool, anymore. I felt alone and over challenged, mentally. How can Indian people be so nice and calm, no matter the rudimentary lifestyle and lack of everything? I am ashamed about how miserable I felt because the electricity went off, the food I ordered was wrong, the cold showers, the hard beds, the long hours spent travelling.
Trying to cope with the millions of emotions that India put on the plate can put a bit of a psychological strain on a spoiled European brat. All this with a nasty cold that won’t go away still, after two weeks – to my defence.
My heart knows. It clearly told me to stop and feel, each step of the way. Photograph less, open my eyes more, listen and smell. Stop being afraid and take it all in. Be aware and present. Just like a radio with full signal on my favourite station, the call of the wild sings out loud!
And so, the journey continues.