Friday, February 16, 2007

Home is where the heart is

Throughout my life when the going gets rough and I don't feel well, I
go to India. I spent my childhood in Delhi and even when living in New
York I would go almost every year as most of my family and sister
reside there. As I have gotten older I have gone less and my life
feels more incomplete for it. India is a world unto itself, cliche but
true. If it was the world, it'd be enough for me. They say it takes
lifetimes to know India and I believe it. The diversity, the colors,
the tragedy, a day there shows you the complete spectrum of
possibilities, of being. Rich or poor, happy or sad, one everyday is
reminded and connected to the sufferings of others. There is no hiding
from it, there is no hiding in general as privacy is a strange concept,
something my Western counterpart has a tough time coming to grips with.
As a child in India or as an Indian child anywhere we become
accustomed to noise and developing an ability to sleep anywhere under
any circumstances. In loud raucous temples, where all - night rituals
are held it is not uncommon to see children sprawled out asleep as the
religious beat goes on and on.

One is forever surrounded by people and it is disturbing though you
feel alive, constantly. They say a great friend is one who feels
comfortable enough to impose himself on you. That is what a friend is,
isn't it? Someone who doesn't hesitate to impose himself on you. I
like that and India is like that in a seductive way. Not only imposing
but offending, abusing, pushing, pulling, making you sweat and scream.
And every other calm place puts me at unease. Thats why I prefer
southern Italy to the north. I can't deal with order and calm.

Being in the place I am from puts my soul at ease even though it
happens to be an insufferable chaos. I feel rejuvenated by the
remembrance of my childhood in Delhi. They are my most vivid memories.
I remember particularly the monsoon seasons. I have been attracted to
rain as far back as I can remember. Of all the weather conditions, the
drama of rain, thunder and lightening has been closest to expressing
how I feel inside. A torment that gives rise to flowers, that makes
the grass and trees grow, that washes away with a power to purify as
well as destroy.

The smell of the earth, where all senses intermingle. That is what I
long for, that is all I need.

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