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If you are an inveterate globe trotter just like me, then you have to travel to India at least once in your life.
When you travel to India, you don’t go on vacation! Just forget about it! Whoever decides to travel to India is going to take a real journey. That kind of journey that makes your bones for any other journey.
In short, if you travel to India you can travel anywhere!
A journey to India is a hard journey. I have been on the other side of the world but never before I had felt so far away from home.
You will witness something that will change you forever and you will bring the best out of you to adapt to a culture that is really hard to understand and that will constantly challenge you with its mass of contradictions.
Personally India challenged me in a very extreme way. While traveling through India I had some health issues. There were some moments where I thought I had something severe. Thanks to God, it wasn’t like that and now I can take medical examinations at home with no rush. Rush that they initially gave me in a weird English I couldn’t even properly understand.
They were intense moments. Moments when you start thinking carefully about life and what is really important.
And I think India really pushes you to do that. To constantly reflect on your existence.
First of all India taught me to be grateful for all the things that I have, without taking anything for granted, and to stop complaining about things I don’t have.
Poor people that you meet around the street teach you that. People who don’t have anything. Not even teeth to eat or legs to walk.
And I ended up teaching this myself to an Indian guy that I randomly met in Pushkar while I was getting a manicure. This man told me a secret that he never shared with anyone. A secret that troubles him deeply and puts him really down. He told me: “I never said that to anyone but you always smile and I can tell you have a kind heart”. I tried to cheer him up and I asked him to start thinking of the good things he has. And suddenly his eyes lit up. “I love my job! I am grateful for doing a job that I love!”. And we hugged.
You teach me. I teach someone else.
Karma is another wonderful aspect that India has taught me.
I make a good action for you. You make a good action for someone else. This way we constantly help each other.
I have seen taxi drivers pulling over to give a ride to old men who couldn’t walk. People around the street helping my friend to clean her shoe because she accidentally stepped her foot in the cow poo (holy poo, to be clear!). Men taking care of a puppy dog who was cold after falling into the water.
All for nothing in return. Only to pursue the endless loop of good actions that rules the universe.
But I have to admit that despite all the good lessons that India has taught me, I had some moments when I couldn’t take it anymore.
I couldn’t take traveling on dusty trains, being fooled by local drivers who wouldn’t take me where I asked them to take me, brushing my teeth using bottled water, getting pushed and turned around by the crowd, the constant slalom between cars, vans, tuk-tuks, cows, bikes and motorbikes to move around the streets.
Sometimes I just wanted to go home, go for a run in the park, drink out of a water fountain, have a carbonara and a glass of chilled white wine in the shade (forgive me Mallory for talking about carbonara like every day of our journey).
But in the end I also believe that all these hard times India puts you through are just a small price to pay for exploring such a fabulous land.
A land made of legendary palaces of kings and princes, formidable stories of death and intrigues, impregnable fortresses, large deserts, incredible mausoleums, holy rivers and temples.
A land made of chaotic markets and mystic sounds, perfumes and spices, wild dance in colorful dresses, traditional festivals celebrated by huge crowds.
But above all a land made of extraordinary people, who have nothing, but everything to teach.