While the scorching, mischievous sun and dusty, hot winds try to take off your coat of worldliness, blaring horns and sounds announce that it never really matters where you go, you are made of India. Your support system reconnects and stands up for you like a pillar, and with a heavy heart, you bow and acknowledge that you have missed all that strength, love and care. It feels so good to return to your motherland.
You realize, India feels so real with its sounds, vibrations and panorama of life. You feel those years away from here has been a dream, this is reality. You just pick up from where you left, sandwiched in long gapless queues, moving along within a disorderly crowd and haggling for auto-rickshaw fare. Staff, watchman, shopkeepers, acquaintances share slices of their lives, joys and woes with you, as if you have always been there. Family and friends leave aside mighty inconveniences of commuting and toss aside their busy schedules to just be with you for a warm hug and even for tiniest of chats. They make India so special. They make India so lively. They make India, home!
Family makes you reconnect with your childhood, friends rekindle the feeling of wondrousness, and they together make a cosy cushion for you to lean on. After all these years, you seem to have forgotten about the comforts of leaning. You have been upright and always standing, facing things on your own… and it feels weird to lean on. And you do it awkwardly in the comfortable space created for you….for a limited time.
Also random act of kindness from unknown people leave you touched and emotional. Sometimes they make your mission of finding your destination, their job. And intuitively understands and relate to your needs. So there might be a person in the metro, who would offer his seat, and a lady who would lead you to the shop you have been looking for, a shopkeeper might ask you to sit in his shop to catch your breath or an ola cab driver, would share rare political insight.
Your kid might wonder- Have you known the person you were talking to mumma? You would reply – You don’t need to know a person to talk to here. Conversation doesn’t start or end here, it just flows!
Your kid, who has heard nothing but polite conversations, might even ask you – Why is he yelling mumma? And you would say – He is talking, not yelling. That is how it is!
You feel, India has not changed much. The Josh seems to be high as ever. The infrastructure is the same, except for technology that is making lives easier. You had expected a dramatic change but outwardly little seems to have changed.
As you pause for a moment in the midst of a road divider, and cars pass by you on both sides, making it very risky for you, you get the realization that India has never been about aesthetic beauty, enchanting landscapes, orderliness and structured existence. It is free, chaotic, jolting, nerve wrecking, and completely unpredictable. No plan works here, ever. India has its own plan to get your job done. This is how the country was, and still is. What is amazing about being here is experiencing palpable, throbbing life and humanity in its entirety.
When you return from India, you feel the world has gone still. No sounds, no conversations, no conflicts! There is a strange heaviness that doesn’t go away despite your structured, smooth existence in the new land. You go about doing your job, once again mulling over your decisions, divided and torn. You fold away clothes, do laundry, cook, all the time, ignoring the heaviness. Life is predictable and comfortable.
And then, you find an old Hindi newspaper on one side of your half open suitcase. It had wrapped something of importance, perhaps a few bangles. But it is useless now. You need to throw it. It is trash. But you can’t. You touch it lovingly, fold it gently and keep it under the mattress. You can’t let go of that… even the tiniest bit of India.
(Image via Google)