still in the motherland. soon returning to the otherland. or the othermotherland rather. india tends to stick with you, and i’m not sure i can speak authoritatively on the subject because i’ve hardly actually ever lived here, and always been in the somewhat overwhelming state of trying to fully absorb a leisure visit within a few weeks, but there’s something about this place that lodges itself in you, a piece of you that comes alive here that you forget existed until you find it again.
it takes me awhile to find my voice when i come here. it’s not just a question of language but also a question of finding one’s sense of place. where do i fit in? what do others make of me here? but little things satisfy me and awaken me here as they do in every other place in the world, and in that tiny balance, i begin to construct a new sense of myself sown from more familiar pieces. all my family members here are each so unique in their personalities and outlooks that i enjoy merely listening rather than speaking. i read in vast quantities when i come here — newspapers, books, magazines, anything to tie myself more firmly to the ground. i watch the outside city in detail when we go for drives. there are a myriad of stories to be found everywhere, like ripe fruits about to fall from branches heavy with them.
so much has changed here — shopping malls smell exactly the same everywhere in the world i have discovered, and yet so much remains the same. people are living in a future full of nostalgia for the past. others are using their pasts as stepping stones to embrace brighter futures. in any case, the presence of the heart is hard to ignore here. the capacity of the human spirit is available in full every day here, whether observing life in the slums or being a guest in someone’s house. the concern for the other here, despite all the problems and poverty, is truly moving. the friendliness, the generosity, the kindness — it’s hard to explain until you’ve experienced it for yourself.
as with every time i come here, i try and remember it as best i can, to bring some of that nameless feeling back with me.