Washing off the dust of another day, I am lured by the inviting banks of the Ganges River for one of the kind sunrise runs.
I feel as an invader who brings the western habits to the place where they don’t belong to. The contrast I create is unbelievable, the attention I draw is overwhelming as I jog through the morning hours, stepping into an awakening day devoured in prayers, rituals and local routines. There’s still that pleasant stillness just before the morning commotion converts into noise. Heavily scented air penetrates my body awakening all my senses. Excitement builds up as I get to explore and to be a part of the world so mysterious and so magical. A concept of visiting Ashrams only intensifies the desire to fully dive in and to be taken away from the clutter I see around me.
Walking around, sneak-peeking into the nooks and crannies of the streets, indulging in the intense colors of saris and all the exotic spices. The chaos and fast pace are overwhelming, further accentuated by the earsplitting sounds coming at me from all directions. In this chaos, I find some order –crooked by all means – yet shaping a new meaning. I had imagined peace and tranquility when I thought about this place prior to the trip. Rehearsing in my mind what it would look like, picturing some form of an oasis…And here I am, finding my way around whilst seeing others going against this natural rhythm of life by fighting its current. Perhaps I am being tested by experiencing all of it so I can peacefully and calmly emerge on the other side. Facing and not always seeing through the storms of life yet being steered by an intrinsic direction. Participating in and being led, navigating between occasional drifts along the journey. I am captivated by the pandemonium around me and skillful souls maneuvering on the court of life to achieve intended purpose. However, if you don’t know where you are going then does it really matter which way you take…?
I am amazed over and over again. I sense the struggle yet I feel the aliveness. I feel the richness of the spirit drowning in the poverty and the behaviors ensuring the survival. The life does not stop. It perpetuates. We are all the same, we need the same things. We want similar things. Yet what they represent to us creates a personalized story. It gives birth to diversity and from there it cascades down to greediness, entitlement and distribution of force. At the end, we are one race – the human race.
Some parts of this experience generate sadness in me by swooshing me to the existential side of life. It creates a ripple effect and as I release it, it hits me back by its magnitude and aftershock waves. Melancholy pours in. As I witness huge waste of human potential, it triggers irritation. Feelings of annoyance fueled by lack of sensitivity and empathy exhibited by many tourists. It makes me angry. It’s not enough we conquer the people’s homes, their privacy, staring at them like they are mannequins on a window display, pointing fingers and laughing at things that are the most natural part of their daily existence. From here, I move swiftly to watching people settle down in life and then elaborate on their own lack of character, sinking deeper into own despair. Others building their own limitations. Not having neither courage nor imagination to produce and direct their own life movie. To face the truth, which at first, must upset you before it can set you free. To infuriate you to the point of being offended so profoundly so the filters that caused the blindness all dissipate. To start actually “seeing” it not only to “looking” at it. All that in a rare case of actually having the control and the power to choose –such a stark contrast to what I observe here!
I left India with a desire to come back and discover other hidden jewels and all they can teach me. I left humbly with hunger for life and appreciation of all it has to offer.