Visiting India? You might not come back…

well I haven’t! –  although my body is definitely in the UK, It seems I left something of me in India and possibly the best bit and for my sanity I’m going to have to go back and retrieve it or just go back .

It’s a cliché I heard so often, before what was our first ever sojourn into the land of the enlightenment of Buddha and the birthplace of yoga, the stomping ground of Gandhi, the home of the exiled Dalai Lama, the best chai tea on Earth that ‘you never come back the same as you went’ and I’d agree.

tibetans

Going to India is not a ‘holiday’ in the seaside and sangria sense unless you find yourself in the sticky honey trap of the distraction that is Goa which to some, however, is a tidy balance of seaside and sangha. In this short life I’ve travelled through Europe, the US and Canada, been into Africa and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and even ventured daringly and more than once into the depths of Wales (think Borneo with sheep) and all of them are very different to England but always, and without exception, it felt that we were on holiday even though we avoid most of the tourist traps  but India for me was like ( another cliché) returning home to a distant memory that fills (just one more cliché) the heart with unbridled joy. It immediately felt like I’d always been there and that I’d just popped out to have a life as an Englishman to see what that must be like.

About a week after returning  I found myself sat in the car in the local High Street waiting for one of the family to return from a self-imposed errand, and whilst  witnessing the passing scene, the only thought that came up, projected or otherwise was ‘lifeless’. A grey stepfordian, freezing turkey, comedown, drudge of lifelessness. And I realised then that what India has, projected or otherwise, is life-force.

Chalmundi Hill, Mysore

I began missing the beeping horns, the colours, and smells and of course stinks, the abstract poverty wearing a smile alongside the newfound western inspired consumerism wearing a frown. I missed the endless tuk tuks, the clever scams, cows and goats and cats and dogs and monkeys wandering ignored everywhere. I missed that all you had to do when a curious local stares at you, which they do, is  not to look away but to smile and be reciprocated with the sunniest of faces. Subsequently I smiled a lot, and at everyone and everyone smiled back.  🙂

India Smiles

I imagine for some it’s a culture shock too far. It’s definitely a long way from most westerners’ comfort zones which explains why so many congregate in AC coffee shops. But for me it put the western world into a Orwellian perspective that modern India is desperately currently trying to emulate, much to its loss – though somehow I think it will take a long time – possibly long enough to be able to attend the funeral of the dying world of capitalism.

India sheep

see the other ‘Visiting India?’ blogs in the Visiting India category

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11 thoughts on “Visiting India? You might not come back…

  1. I feel the same about Thailand, probably because I’ve never been to India. There is just something so wonderful when you just fall in love with a place. Hearing about so many wonderful things about India kind of makes me want to go someday.

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    1. Yes. Thailand is the next country on my list to backpack but I need to sit under *that* tree in Bodhi Gaya first and face my death at Varanasi and experience the Himalayas and of course Rishikesh and all those will be in a North India visit which I must do first and hopefully later this year 🙂

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  2. WoW!!! Now this definitely makes me miss home again. It is not even a month since I got back from India and reading this I am sure I would start dreaming about my visit again 🙂 What were the places you visited in India???

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      1. Oh that is wonderful.. You should also consider the North east.. Good luck with your travel and looking forward to read more.

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  3. Your post illuminates three aspects: observation, experience and imagination. The personal remarks that you have littered through out the post exemplify the above three aspects. – poverty wearing a smile, the frown of the western inspired consumerism, the reciprocation of smile, the loss in emulating the West,….. As Sarah has observed about Thailand, many Asian countries have religious and cultural links to India – in arts, scriptures, language, even gestures like Namaste. You couldn’t be on a better track than your decision to visit all those places in North India before embarking on a visit to Thailand, the Land of Smiles from which I just returned. You may also consider visiting the South of India. All the very best, Kev. Thanks for visiting my blog. Jo

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  4. What a beautiful article! It’s my dream to one day visit India.
    Since I’ve been studying to become a yoga teacher, this desire has only become greater! Loved to see you enjoyed this country so much. I think that it’s the whole atmosphere there, the lovely and friendly people and the way people look at life, that makes you wanna stay :). Loved to read it!

    X
    http://dipitblack.com

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    1. thanks ! 🙂 Booking to go back tomorrow and this time we’re taking the teenager/young adult with us. Rishikesh, Varanasi, Bodg Gaya amongst the stops 🙂

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