Our journey back home began for us early on Tuesday morning, within the backdrop of a light rainy mist and the manic and frenzied cackling of the now familiar bird cries. Neena was up to give us our last send off, giving us extra hugs and a to-go container of Poha that she had made for us. Poha is one of our favorite Indian dishes, made of a flattened rice (which makes it super light and fluffy), peas, nuts, and delicious spices. You can expect to be in the car anywhere between 2.5-4 hours, depending on the traffic and who is driving, so it was a welcome surprise! As we drive out of town, we say our goodbyes to the places that has been home the last month. Our apartment, the park, the Institute. The feral dogs are trotting briskly with purpose as they roam for scraps of food. We see a handful of the dogs that we have come to know over the month, and a lot more that we don’t know. I finally let myself feel all the emotions I have about the animals of India, now that I don’t have to be surrounded by it constantly.
We begin the now familiar journey from Pune to Mumbai. There are billboards everywhere you look. We see a baby painted blue and dressed up like Lord Krishna, with Marathi writing on it. Some look like political adds. And some are in English, promoting luxury dream homes and beach vacations. They stand in front of the skeletons of half finished, vacant, high rises. Other completed high rises line the highways, completely covered in rainbows of laundry hung and drying. All are nestled within tropical trees and rolling hills. More expansive hills are dotted with smaller homes and herds of goats and cows. As we approach Mumbai, we see the number of dogs, people, and vehicles increase. It is the morning hours, so you see people cooking rice over fires under makeshift tents. There are people in their underwear brushing their teeth beside a dumpster. There are always people relieving themselves of every sort of bodily waste imaginable on the side of the road. It starts to rain, so the motor bikers pull over to pull their slickers on over their work clothes. On the road in the city there are many serenely-faced woman dressed in beautiful, vibrant saris, effortlessly sitting side saddle on the backs of motor cycles, no easy feet We stare out at all of this, and people stare right back at us, the only two westerns we see for 4 hours. We are used to this by now, of course. We make it to the airport, and through all of the security stations. We encounter one last sensory assault, as the flight attendants spray down the airplanes with bug spray. I am ready for it this time, keeping my face dutifully covered with my now well worn scarf. As the plane lifts off, I look down in wonder. Did all that really just happen?
Angie was saying how the last month almost feels like it was a dream. And now that I am back home, I guess it does in some ways. This morning, I went about my normal routine as if I had never been gone. Wake up, coffee, shower, walk the dogs. All the things I am used to. But it feels different now. I am hyper aware of the unlimited, clean water supply I have. Never in my life has a shower felt more luxurious to me than it has the last few days. I have all sorts of stores, all minutes away, where I can get anything I want. I have completely reliable electricity, no black outs or restrictions. I have a fresh and diverse food supply at my fingertips. I can chose to make as much trash as I want, and then put it in a bag and tie it and forget it forever. I thought I was living consciously before, but I am realizing just how decadent my life here is.
I already miss some of the people I have come to know so well. I miss my daily breakfast (and sometimes dinner) of fresh chopped ginger, papaya, pineapple, and pomegranate. I miss the yoga, and the deep spiritual fabric that IS India. The in-your-face reminder of everyone and everything going on around you. It made a gratitude practice effortless. Now it is my job to keep that spark alive.
I already have my next India trip scheduled for August 2015. I will be doing much more traveling outside of Pune on that trip, now that I know how to be in India and what to expect from the rigorous class and practice schedule at the Institute! I have so enjoyed chronicling both my travel experiences, and my yoga experiences, through this blog. I am (finally) doing my first Iyengar assessment in November, involving philosophy knowledge and teaching. After going to India, I see how deeply the yoga philosophy and India are intertwined. That said, I am going to continue to write about yoga philosophy through this blog. If that isn’t your thing, I will also include yoga sequences, so stay tuned for that, as well!
Thanks for indulging me, and joining me on this journey. Until next time!