“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke
A complicated, intertwined blob of ideas and feelings are swirling amok in my head and my heart right now. Like the intricate maneuverings of a hand with a loom patiently stitching together a unique pattern for a silky Indian shawl, I can’t think or write fast enough to capture the vocabulary fit to describe what India has been like for me during this trip. Only until the pattern is done and the shawl is ready to be purchased as a piece of art by an unassuming traveler and storyteller, will the experience fall into some state where discernible articulation is possible. Amidst the heat that has snuck up on me and has felt like concrete on my skin, flavors and textures that have not ceased to burst in my mouth, the architecture and history porn, and the bedlam and mayhem I face and accept everyday since I’ve been here, I am once again, categorically and unquestionably smitten by India. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu was unforgettable. And now, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, especially South Mumbai, have carved their special corners in the cavities of my heart.
It’s not easy though, to write about India while still in India. G knows, I’ve tried. And it’s not a problem of not having anything to say as senses feel like they are on steroids. In fact, my extreme and exag ways interlace and lock quite nicely in this maximum city as the overstimulation goes on overdrive. The problem really is where and how to begin …How do I begin to write about a place so chaotic, so crowded and full of contradictions; a place so colorful, and jam-packed with flavors that just won’t quit? How do I explain the intensity of the Heat I thought I already intimately knew growing up in Manila? Where do I begin to describe the ebb and flow of the streets where the willing, surrendering soul can eventually meld with the anarchy , just as long as he/she learn the ways of the inexplicable pace and movement of the waves to not get killed on the road?
Words are too limited and incomplete right now to describe the first moment I laid eyes on The Gateway of India. My body reacted for me and I got a nose bleed instead.
In the middle of taking a photograph of a man in green blowing bubbles, and after a postcard salesman tried to slip me some weed, blood started too ooze out of my nose and on to my favorite scarf. I wiped the blood with the back of my hand and memorized that Mumbai moment as onlookers stared at me, the nose bleeding voyeur who stuck out like a sore thumb.
And what about the people I’ve met…where do I start when it comes to talking about just how great they have been? It’s both an exciting and daunting task, to write about how their stories and lives have moved and inspired me, to aptly pay homage to their significance (I see you) and to express my deep gratitude to them and to G, for making this trip exactly what it is. Amazing and unforgettable.
From my best friend, sister and gracious host, @sacha_wc; Jiten and Jaya, the coordinators at The Calorx school in Ahmedabad; Viren, our brilliant guide during the Taj Hotel Tour, who can speak a gazillion languages; plus all the strangers I bumped into, smiled at and asked for directions, I am extremely grateful for you today.
So Eat, Pray, Surrender. An up and coming three part post of my (mis)adventures in India: Ahmedabad and Mumbai legs. 🙂 Stay tuned as I let the pictures tell the stories today. In the meantime, I need to live the questions, I need to live everything right now so …”perhaps I will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” I am hoping, at some point, I will find the way and the words to write about my experiences in this truly maximum part of the world. Hope is a good word and memories catch up with us rather quickly.
grateful slice: India, Mumbai,Ahmedabad and Rilke.