Sunday, August 3, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I am slouching in a hard plastic chair while being serenaded by constant announcements in English followed by Hindi.  I am enjoying my new aura of duty-free sample perfume.  I am wishing that instead of Subway and Nirula’s someone from South India had broken the chain-restaurant-only rule of airport holding pens and was serving Masala Dosas.  Oh, for one last dosa, I would unload every last Rupee in my possession.

I am terribly sleep deprived.  Perhaps that is why I can only seem to begin sentences by stating I am.  I’ve had about 7 hours of sleep in the past two days and I’m getting ready for a long road ahead.  I’ll be very happy to collapse into bed once I’m state-side.  I wish I could sneak onto the direct flight to NYC that is boarding right in front of me. 

Most of all, I am very sad to leave India.  So sad that I was nearly getting choked up as I stamped out my last cheap Indian cigarette before heading into the airport.  I feel that I even reconciled my differences with Delhi today.  This country is nothing short of amazing, in the true, non-hackneyed sense of the word.  Even as I came to view the once-bewildering occurrences as common place, there were still many complexities that unfolded and many new experiences that astounded. 

I’ve been making many comparisons in this blog—north vs. south, India vs. West, men vs. women.  But I’ve realized that my comparisons are inherently flawed.  They come from different vantages.  My perceptions three weeks ago are different from those of today and those of three weeks before.  I have changed in these six weeks.  Such a short time really.  But India is a powerful force.  Either you fight its abrasiveness and annoyances and nearly break under the onslaught or you become flexible and allow yourself to be stretched. 

In the one yoga class I managed to take while in Mysore, I learned many things about what I don’t know about yoga.  You want a downward facing dog?  Sure, no problem.  I’ll give you a downward facing dog.  Then the instructor came and pulled and pushed and posed my body in a way that felt completely foreign, somewhat painful, and yet somehow right.  Many of my experiences in India were just like that.  Just when I would think I had something figured out, my mind would be pushed and pulled into an uncomfortable stretch that felt strange and difficult, but more real and profound than what I had felt before.  

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