06 February 2014

India 2014

One week in, 23 to go.
In some ways, it feels like I never left. The streets, the chaos, the animals, the smells, the smiles are all the same. It has been an adjustment though. Jet lag has been harder than I thought it would be. I was walking around like a zombie for the first few days, falling out hard at 5 or 6 pm, waking up in the middle of the night, watching tv or reading until the city woke up a bit. And this city wakes up late. Many shops don't open until 11, and stay open until midnight or so. I was hungry at some inopportune moments, and not hungry when I should have been. It's getting better, though, and I think I'm almost there.
I just moved into my third hotel. The first one is where I always start out, very comfortable and in my old neighborhood, but expensive at $45 per night (that's my discounted rate from them, actually). Next was a similar place for a little less nearby.  Now I'm up in Juhu, a neighborhood a little to the north, famous for its beach, its giant Marriot hotel complex, and its large Krishna temple. I've never stayed here, and it's a little quieter and more peaceful, maybe because of the beach. It gives me whole new areas to wander around and explore. I'm staying at a hotel/ashram only for people visiting the temple, but my friend Sonali called them as a reference, so I'm in. And yes, I'll be visiting the temple two or three times a day, giving thanks for being here, and opening my heart.
This whole trip is about opening my heart. I just recently got divorced. This blog started as a record of the two of us, and the beginnings can be found in the first few entries. Heather and I are still close, but long-term partnership was not to be. So I'm back, to travel solo again, to meet other travelers on the road, and to remember myself. Who am I now? What do I want, where do I want to be, what will be my future of romantic relationships? Before I am truly open to being with another, I must patch some holes, heal some cuts and bruises, and turn on my lovelight for myself, for all beings. I am hopeful that I will find a new partner someday, but in order for it to work, I must find myself again first. And no, it's not that I'm all that lost, I just need a little time to integrate the past few years, so free up the future.
Meanwhile, I've been taking long walks and reconnecting with people. Saw my old friend Sachin the hair-saloon keeper. Got my first shave from him, and a haircut too. Getting shaved by an expert here with a straight razor is one of the pleasures of India, which I have written about before. Last time I came I brought him a wristwatch, and he was still wearing it. And there's my good friend Sonali, I can't say enough about here. She runs the NGO Dreamcatchers, for whom I volunteered in 2010, and I'll work wtih them again this time. Our conversations soar to the loftiest heights, wherein we remind each other of our deepest selves, and I value her insight immensely. I've also seen a few times the Rajput family, DJ brothers Pravin and Sachin, who were my neighbors in my old building. (Sachin Tendulkar is India's most beloved cricket player, recently retired, and so it is a popular name.) I even met a couple new people, one guy named Adam, although when he found out I was het, I think he lost interest. I met him by complimenting him on his tattoo, so I can understand the confusion. It's an awesome tattoo; a stylized om symbol made to look like a meditating person.
I'm so happy and thankful to be here, although there have certainly been times that I've wondered what the heck I'm doing. But let's call that Jetlag too, or the vicissitudes of India. It's all extremes here, internally as well as externally. Keeps things interesting, at least.
I'll stay here in Mumbai for a while, and at some point I'll hit the road. To follow my heart, that is the key. 

No comments: