With less than a week left on our trip we find ourselves both happy to be returning home and sad to be leaving. India is such a big country and we have seen and experienced so much of it. I assume that a lot of things will continue to hit me as we reintegrate into the world. There are so many things to miss about India that we don’t quite know where to begin…
We will miss freshly cooked and (more or less) healthy food. Particularly Dosas and Sambar (a South Indian specialty) in the morning, organic/ biodynamic coffee from Auroville, freshly squeezed juices like pomegranate, lime, pineapple, coconut, apple, mango and tangerine for Rs. 40 or less, and grilled tandoori specialties like Chicken Tikka and Nan from REAL tandoors.
We will miss the land; from the tall peaks of the Himalaya, the fresh air of hill stations, the warmth of the plains, the holy rivers, the sparkling waters of the Arabian Sea, the lush tropical jungles of Tamil Nadu, hills that look like piles of stones, coconut palms, beaches, temples, and monuments.
We will miss getting on a train on one side of the country and waking up on the other side of the subcontinent to the calls of, “ChaiCoffeeChaiCoffeeCoffeeChai.” and offers of breakfast and other assorted sundries. Drinking chai on a train is an experience in and of itself-nothing like a shot of sugar and caffeine to get you going in the morning as you chug past farm fields, villages and towns, and waving children.
We will miss the people, travellers with whom we shared time and other travellers who live in India who love their country with pride and are so excited to talk about it. We will miss the hearts and smiles of the Tamil people- by far the nicest people we have come across. As well as the wisdom and persistence of the Tibetan people that now make India home. Most of all we will miss the head wobble- there is no other gesture that is more appropriate for this country.
We will miss screaming down the road on a motorbike…horn blaring- dodging trucks, buses, rickshaws, people, and cows while the wind blows through our hair and the sun warms our skin. There is no other place in India where you can feel as free as you do on a motorbike exploring the world around you.
We will miss warmth by day, cool by night, being able to leave your windows open-as long as you have screens or mosquito netting, and wearing light clothing. We’ll miss the intoxicating smells of India from the fragrant jasmine, to the earthy sandalwood, the smell of burning wood fires, the lighting of incense morning and evening and the odors of spices like cumin, turmeric, chillies, ginger, garlic and curry wafting through the air.
Most of all, we’ll miss the chaos that is India. The 1.1 billion people who get up every morning and work their butts off in taxis, hotels, farm fields, factories, and schools to make a living and to make their country better. My hat is off to you.
India, you have entranced us- we will definitely be back.