My India – A Flashback Part II

“Anyone who has ever been to India, not only with his eyes, but also with his heart, to whom it will remain a homesickness country.” (H. Hesse)

Days are passing by, restless. I am feeling haunted. Everything seems to be so impalpable, intangible. All my experiences, people I have met, the life which I could build here – these things will have an end in month? Somehow time was walking past me in seven-league boots. In India, the world is spinning faster – Or was it all just a dream, nearly perfect and scary at once? My fantasy seems to be great or my perception of reality is just terrible.

My India - A Flashback3
A shack on the street

Five and a half months after my arrival in such a different country, I have found a new home. Now, I know every mean ploy which is exerted by hawkers and rickshaw drivers. I have learned how to deal with people’s glances; and I walk around almost as if I had never lived anywhere else. The deeper culture is familiar to me – the model of femininity, which is characterized by the woman as a synonym for domesticity and chastity; the family culture, which is determined by traditions and ancestor worship and the understanding of religion, which is dominated by a deep faith, spirituality and unexpected tolerance. All these things make India so unique, varied, may be a bit backward in the eyes of many Europeans. But I am going to miss it. My soul has learned to be Indian.

My India - A Flashback1
A fruit seller on the street

India has given me something what had been denied me in Germany so far: I can see clearly. I made liminal experiences (Just think of huge cockroaches or toilets, which no longer even look like that). I saw beautiful places. I felt suffering, pain, happiness and joy. India has turned me into a new person, a stronger one, brave and extremely fragile at the same time. My father always reminded me that one day the world revolution, as Lenin said, will go through India, explicit Calcutta. Maybe I needed “this” India for my own revolution. Because I am more aware than ever of what I am, who I want to be and where my life will lead me to. The contrasts of this nation capture my imagination, they fascinate and likewise disturb me. The little girl who ran after me on the street, with her unkempt hair and her dirty little feet is always in my mind, exactly like the pompous robed bride, I was able to admire on a wedding a few days ago. The mixture of restlessness and tradition, seeing greatness in small things that has also infected me. It has encouraged me to fight, to muse, to meditate.

My India - A Flashback2
A man with a lunghi

Soon, my journey will continue, further to the North of India, the center of all the medial outrage. The reports of rape victims (such as in Delhi), lagging education and armed conflicts (as in Kashmir and Jammu) set my antennae quivering. But I try to ignore that feeling. My curiosity is too big; the thought that I might miss a great place in India. Because how often will destiny bring me back to India? Probably never. How could I ever miss Delhi, India’s capital and Calcutta, its heart? Why should I never see the Himalaya? Appeal makes me want to travel even to seemingly dangerous areas. I am indeed aware of all horrific happenings, but I have never felt unsafe at any time in this country. Maybe I am too much involved, maybe I am just too naive, got bitten by my love of adventure or I have just trusted the right people. The most rational explanation would be, however, that North India is simply more unprogressive than the South, where I live. But since when do I believe in sheer rationality – and especially in India?

Unrest has caught me again: I have to continue to work, to progress and to live life to the fullest, to overcome everything which puts obstacles in my way. The omnipresence of life and death, joy and sorrow, love and hatred has made me understand what living means. There will always be a struggle, for what you want, for what you love, but there will also be luck. Because even the smallest thing can bring the greatest joy. India has surrounded me with its invisible veil, opened its arms and welcomed me. I gratefully accepted it and learned my lesson. I have got over myself, have probably never received so many impressions at once. I have never got to know so many people in such a short time and I have never been so sick, alone, felt together and vital. India casts its spell over me. I will never miss it on my way. It will always be with me, in my memory and in my heart…

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