Expectation is a funny thing. We are staying in an ‘upscale’ hotel that is the sister hotel from our last visit. It is not nearly as nice. We have no real closet or place to store our clothes, no balcony, no view of the river – although we are much closer to it – and no monkeys. A couple of us are disappointed but trying to be yogic about it. “What are we supposed to learn from this? What do you suppose the lesson is?” It is about expectation, of course. And India is the master of spitting expectations out the barreling rickshaw window like a stale piece of gum.
“Be present,” she says, “notice, observe.” Whatever.
As we were driving from the airport to our hotel I had the distinct feeling that I might be done with India, I don’t know that I will ever have the desire to come back here. There is so much trash, so much poverty, so much. So many sick animals, maybe abused and no end in sight. I don’t know why this is all bothering me so much now, I don’t know why it didn’t before.
The novelty has worn off. At first it was, “Oh, it’s just India, being India.” Now I see no excuse for the messes.
But I have brought assumptions and expectations with me this time. I have been to this town before and think I know what to expect. Think I know what I want. I think I know how to patch things up, but I don’t. And so I must surrender, but right now that feels like a fight.
So I’ll scowl and shake my head in disappointment until my need to be right passes. And it will. The magic and beauty will reveal themselves to me. I just have to get over myself and be here now.