Faraway Friday: Rishikesh, India

India is always on my mind. I cannot articulate what about this mesmerizing and frustrating country has me so captivated. The people? Absolutely. The colors? For sure. The history, spirituality, devotion, customs, mystery? All of it.

But when someone asks me why I love India I can never convey with words why I must go back again and again.

A piece of me is from here. When I stepped onto Indian soil that first time, I reclaimed something. Nothing was added. Nothing was new. Something left sleeping and lightly snoring deep within had simply yawned, stretched and awakened full of peace and unperturbed joy.

This child-like inner guru is like a little old man who just happily goes along with whatever. He doesn’t mind if it’s raining. Or hot. Or cold. He’s fine with politics – both sides and even war or peace. He is contentment itself. He knows that all of this is a huge production, a play, meant just for me. Yes, everyone else seems to be experiencing a similar play, the plot twists, however, are individual. It’s how I, how each of us, react to this play that define it as ours.

He has no reaction. Just this peaceful, knowing smile.

As I work on my plans to return to India at the beginning of next year, I try to sit him beside me; to remind me that whatever happens, whatever flight I get or place I end up going, is all fine.

As I plan my day, write, teach, work, he is always there, but I often forget. Then he shows up in someone else. Usually in the person that is interrupting my plans or disrupting my flow. He’s sly that way. But he has my full attention. The moment has my full attention. And that’s where he lives alongside contentment, peace and unperturbed joy.

So, I still can’t eloquently express why I so love India, why she keeps calling me back. But I can tell you she does. And when she does, I must go.

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