INDIA – Thoughts upon leaving Incredible India

34 days. Open mind and heart. Minimal planning. Faith. Amazement.
Hating India is probably the easiest thing you can do in this world. There are 1001 reasons to do so, from the crowds, smells, loudness, uncleanness, harassment, lack of facilities, poor services, constant staring, unsafety, lack of toilet paper, beggars, horny fellas… etc… etc… etc.
Looking back at my Facebook statuses, I realised something interesting: they were all positive! They were all beaming with joy and adventure and love and… well… chai. And then i asked myself, how is that possible? I’m pretty sure i had some low moments as well, there were definitely times when i was upset and angry and frustrated, times when i was sick and in pain, physical and emotional, times when i asked myself what i was doing there, times when i was tormented by the idea of injustice, and unfairness, and trusting or not trusting… times when it all became so overwhelming, that i could not hold it in anymore and spilled my tears and my heart out in an ashram, in front of a crowd and a swamiji who had only to put his hand on his heart to let me know that he felt me completely, that he knew… and that all was well as it was…
India broke my heart into a thousand pieces. And because of that i was able to not only see it, but feel it. And feeling it had nothing to do with the unpleasant sites, the noises, the smells… feeling it had to do with the people, the spirit, with the core of this nation who wants nothing more than what we all want and will ever want – to be happy! In whichever shape or form…
I had been to exactly 30 other countries before i landed in India. I always loved capturing the essence of each through pictures and words. But the moment i landed in India, the realisation hit me so hard that it hurt – it was going to be absolutely impossible for me to capture even 1% of what this country was about, no matter how many photos, movies and words…
In my first week in India i was taking an average of 200 photos a day, still desperate to capture as much as i could… Quickly that number fell to half, a quarter, a tenth… until, in my last few days there, i would even forget to take my camera out for the whole day… I had surrendered to taking the picture in my mind alone, knowing that to someone who has not seen it live it would only convey a small portion of the meaning, emotion, intensity. Knowing that i will want to keep that picture in my mind forever, while also knowing that i will be back there again, to feel it all again… there could be no other way!!
Knowing that, indeed, everyone out there should experience India at least once in their lifetime – but not only with their eyes – that would be futile!
I’ve loved many places i’ve seen in this world, and I wished I could have stayed there longer. But when I wept from the bottom of my heart knowing I would not be in a particular place the next day… that’s when I knew I had found a place my heart would never forget, a place I would always go back to.
My Facebook statuses were all positive because at the end of each day, in front of my keyboard, no matter how bruised I was, none of the small irritating things mattered anymore… they had all been washed away, and what stayed with me at the end of each eventful day was only that: joy, adventure, love and… chai.
Hating India is the easiest thing you can do in this world.
Loving it was heart breaking.
Leaving it was painful.
Missing it will be always.

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