14 Jan 2016

India by bskinna

17/17

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Last day in India and we're spending it kicking around Humayun's Tomb. It predates the Taj and a lot of the same architecture is present. It's gorgeous, of course, and the grounds are huge and well kept, covered in a handful of other monuments, fountains, and swaying palm trees.

Now that it's almost time to go I find myself almost aching to stay on the one hand, and incredibly excited to be home and get back into my comfy Seattle routine on the other. A writer who's name escapes me (I'll google it later if I think of it) says that what makes people complex and truly realized is the ability to live paradoxes- that is the ability to hold completely opposite and conflicting ideas all as equally correct and vital, and not break down at the logical incongruity. If this holds true, then no place is more human than India. Every emotion I've experienced-- and there have been countless, keenly felt-- I've lived it's opposite just as strongly. Often within the same hour.

It's not an easy place to travel, to be sure. There's no peaceful stroll along wide boulevards, like in Europe. You're too busy watching out for tuk-tuks, rouge motorcycles, and cows to really wander... But the contrast between the hectic streets, all but crackling with energy, and the peaceful green and unparalleled beauty of the grand monuments make them that much more striking.

I won't miss the burning garbage, the constant honking, or the vague threat of loose monkeys, but there's so much that I will miss. The friendly smiles and "namaste"'s from nearly everyone you pass. The groups of delighted kids running through the streets alongside me posing for pictures. The life changing street food.

I have both hated and loved India with all my heart. Tonight, sitting around a family bonfire celebrating the harvest, laughing and chatting and watching the flames of 1000's of households fires dance over Delhi's silhouetted skyline, I knew in my bones that all the frustration and hassle of India would fade away but the love stay strong.

I'd like to think that India has helped broaden my world view, at least a bit. That it'll make me more patient, or present, or grateful or something, but honestly I'm not sure. Three weeks in another country probably won't much change the view that 25 years in my own has all but cemented, but I think I've at least glimpsed another truth here, an understanding of the world outside my own. I'll do my best to pry my eyes open and spot it in my life when I can, even if it's just an affable head waggle on a crowded train.

Thanks for the experience, India. It's been incredible.