Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So. India.

We spent two months in India, and it's hard to put to words our feelings, which is likely why my ass hasn't blogged in two months. I dunno. Here's a go: Inspiring. Overwhelming. Fucking filthy. Stunning. Disappointing. Crushing. Oppressive. Enraging. And full, full, full of love.


I think that's probably the strongest response we had to India. Not necessarily love for India. But love, and the importance of love, and the strength of love, and the importance of taking love and using it as a fount of strength. Because in a place like India, love is all that will save you, and keep you steady during the highest highs (which you will experience) and the lowest lows (which you will experience). We thought long and hard in India about the worst impulses of mankind, and the incredible strides people make to amend those impulses. We want to help. We followed Buddha's footsteps. We traveled through the poorest and most cosmopolitan places India has to offer. We thought a looooooooot about God - as one friend joked, every rickshaw ride you take in Delhi will make you understand why Indians are so religious.

I'm still sorting out the details, but India has made a believer out of me.

One of our worst moments of our summer in India was getting stuck in the middle of a Shiva festival at the mouth of the Ganges. Hundreds of thousands of men and boys were collecting in Haridwar and Rishikesh for the festival, sleeping in makeshift camps, crowding the roads, shitting in the streets, squeezing into any mode of transportation available, and pinching, groping, staring and leering at anyone they could. We were stuck on a local bus for hours for a 30-kilometer trip, sweat streaming down us, kids crammed between our legs, spicy sweat thick in the air, staring out the windows and trying to catch a breeze while cursing the boys dressed in orange pilgrim rags and the horrifying heat of the bus and our stupidity for ever traveling to India.

Then we passed by a red truck parked in one of the camps - it was a typical people mover, filthy, caked with mud and shit, with metal cots nailed into the bed, boys in rags sleeping in, under, and on top of it. Nothing special to it, except for a giant decal on the passenger door. It said, "love is life."

Love is life. That's about right.

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