I am leaving Varanasi tomorrow night. A month gone already. A bloody good month too despite the difficult hammering heat most of the time. Varanasi in the winter must be amazing. I leave behind me some good volunteer work (though not as much as I'd hoped, because of the heat and a need to rest), a training in Reiki, some really amazing and musical company, and a lot of progress on the violin. I am very happy.
Of course though I feel odd about leaving the place. Doing nothing about it, just observing... tomorrow I'm going to Khajuraho for another goodbye-week or so with the family before I head for Mumbai... and Mumbai Airport. It really does feel odd; I can't quite believe that I've been here almost a year already, though it does feel weird to say to people I meet now that I've been here since November 2007!! And yet at the same time India has become so normal to me and I can't believe that I'll be in "anotherworldly" Europe in less than three weeks.
Tonight on the way back from my violin class I was thinking though how easy it is to just walk the city-streets in Europe compared to India. In Europe walking in the street is pretty obvious and pretty straight and smooth. Here, I'm quite glad to have my hiking sandals actually because you have to always go round or up something, you just cannot go straight all the time. In the super-slow (and thick) traffic you have to give way to motorbikes and bicycles and cycle-rickshaw, who drive around and just by you. And the hardworking sweaty men with the scarf round their head, effortfully pushing stackloads of bananas or piles of long metal sticks or sacks of grounds or mounts of plastic chairs on their wobbly wooden carriages. And you have to go round the many many people around you because streets are so fucking crowded, and round the numerous slow or stationary cows, and the massive cow-shits, and the sleeping dogs, and the piles of rubbish, oh and the long queues of heavy, turtle-slow buffaloes, and all the mud, and the chai and food stalls, and the shoe-polishers or bits-and-bobs' sellers or even the neem stick seller who just run their single-squere metre (or less!) "businesses" sitting on the street's side. And there's so much loud noise and deafening
multi-sound horns and traffic noise and people's noise and "Madame, rickshaw!?" here and "Madame please come my shop!" there, and the kids running shouting 'Hello!' behind you. Just noises from there being so many people or living beings in this crazy country. So, often on my way I'm amazed at how alert you have to be to just walk in the streets, a
little like rodeo...
The last time I came to india, for one tiny month, when I got back to Europe the streets seemed empty and miserable to me. After a year I can't yet imagine how the hell I will feel walking the streets in Europe. No doubt they will look un-be-lie-va-bly CLEAN to me though, and the dog shits on french pavements (pavements!) will just look ridiculous to me.
But obviously it's not just walking in the streets. It will be the whole way of life, the not-easily-being-able-to-live-with-your-heart thing I guess that will strike me in Europe, though I am pretty clueless as to how to express how feel right now, and I can't possibly know yet how I will feel because it's not now yet.
What will I do? Where will I live? Friends have started asking me in emails for quite some time now. When I initially left I thought I would know after I get back. A year has passed and I have no clue. But as always the present works for me, and I won't be homeless and pennyless so I'll be OK. It's just, as always, the big Unknown that I have to deal with. Difficult sometimes, but as time goes on, I am becoming pretty good at dealing with It... In the end, if it looks like I do so many things in so many places, I just feel like I always do the same tiny thing all the time: put one foot in front of the other one, and again, and again, and again. Focusing on how I feel at the time, looking at the lead of the pencil - that unchangeable tiny dot - not the big changeable or intimidating drawing that it manifests into. I do nothing but being, what form it takes is secondary. I guess though being will manifest in a form a little like; taking some time to "recover". To rest and recentre myself. To meditate so that I can see what comes in front of me. To see how I feel in Europe. In France, in Scotland. I guess I will have to visit Scotland. I want to visit Scotland, yes! I see it sunny and breezy and beautiful! Edinburgh, its castle, its green hills and its amazing architecture, and Portobello Beach - I remember how amazingly beautiful it looked to me after I had left it for just three months in 2005. I want to see my friends! My family! I'm so happy I'll see them all again - yet at the same time I know it won't all be easy because I'll feel disconnected from such a long, disconnected time away - but I get used to it, don't I. I've been feeling disconnected for a long time from having friends everywhere and therefore never quite connected with anyone. But I'm happy to be who I am, however disconnected I have to be.
And blah and blah and blah. But for now, mind, please would you kindly keep quiet. I am here now. Another violin class to go still. And I'm slowly ending my trip - thinking of what to bring "home" and what to leave behind; the clothes I'll never wear in Europe or those that are slowly dying after seven-ten months from being of poor quality. I've been to the dentist, too, because it's so cheap, and had a 150-rupee eye check-up, and bought a one-year provision of lenses for 20 euros (ha!ha!ha!) I've bought a lovely pile of books and about hald a dozen Hindi/English children's books :p (I am motivated, yes!?) and bits and bobs I won't find in Europe and a lovely OM and a bansuri for a friend who asked me for one. But what else? I clearly do feel like I'll come back to india in the near future (but what do I know?) I don't feel like "I have to bring back souvenirs because I will never see the place again". I feel not like it is an end but a beginning. Despite some hardships (the heeeeeaaaaaat....) I feel so unbelievably comfortable here or at home!? I have no clue about what comes next but there are feelings up in the air - misty, unclear, pale and vague, like a landscape under a dense, thick layer of blinding fog, piercing out, slowly, shily. I can't say what. I can't see it yet, I can't possibly express it yet. I can only slowly discover it as the cover lifts up...
We will see...
I am still here now.
A note on my three blogs
A note on my blogs
(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...
(2) sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!
(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.