The beauty of India
India Travel Blog› entry 1 of 26 › view all entries
Whenever I enter a plane and as soon as the human bird accelerates on the runway, lifting me up high in the sky into a space without yesterday or tomorrow, I flip a switch inside myself. I call it the travel switch. When my travel switch is off, I´m this lazy couch potato, who grumbles about walking 200 meters to the next supermarket. When I turn on the switch, I change to travel mode. I become the "travel me" and a hike up a mountain is all I can think of. It happens automatically, as if the “lazy me” falls asleep on my comfortable couch and the “travel me” wakes up in the middle of a skydive; from semi-bored idleness to sudden, frenetic bouts of fun-seeking.
Whenever I travel somewhere, I wish that I could just skip the plane ride, the take off, the landing, the taxi to the hotel or hostel, the check in, etc.
Even though I haven´t found a way yet to put this wish into practice I still felt as if it was the case when I arrived in India. Arriving in India is like entering another dimension. I felt like being catapulted through a black hole and coming out on the other end in a weird, unfamiliar place where everything is different to what I´m used to. The sounds. The smells. The sights. The tastes. The feelings. A whirlwind for the senses.
In India, I wanted to travel with an aim and at the same time with no aim at all. I was ready for new moments of solitude. I feared as much as I longed for the hardship of Indian life. Again I was willing to sharpen my senses and to expand my mind with all those new impressions and intakes. Only to realize that I could probably never take it all in; it would simply be too much, which in return is of course better than too little.
Let´s be honest, when we travel to “third world” countries like India we actually want to see poverty.
Traveling, then, has two bonuses. First of all, through traveling we see a country, its people, their beliefs, their view of the world, their fears and worries, their idea of happiness; all those things that we would ordinarily never known or probably even ignore. And secondly, traveling puts a mirror right in front of your face. However, it´s not a normal mirror, it´s one of those that magnifies your face and shows you both your sugar-coated side as well as every crevice and flaw.
As a traveler, on the road, we are a different person. By traveling we feel and think in a twisted way, it´s like taking a newly discovered way in the labyrinth of our self. Everything that we usually are, everything that constitutes us in the world we´re used to, is not valid in a new country, in a new world. Our job, our beliefs and morals, our attitudes, everything we take for granted back home, does not count any more. We are a nobody, like an empty, hollow vessel that needs to be refilled and is willingly taking in as much as it might possibly hold. And it is through that bizarre state of mind that we come in contact with a deeper part within ourselves.
In India, there is neither past nor future, there is just the moment. India is about replacing one´s dreams by pure realities. In India, by seeing human misery you´ll find humanity. India is a country of contrasts: it is divine yet demonic, deafening yet tranquil, surreal yet so real, brainsick yet sane, dirty yet paradoxically untainted, elusive yet undaunting, puzzling yet expressive.
In India, your mood can change from unprecedented happiness to bitter frustration within a split second, and vice versa.
What I liked most about India was the unexpected beauty. It is lurking around every corner and often jumps at you with such a force that you can´t help but fall in love. The beauty of India is like art. And I don´t mean boring modern art like a simple black canvas, I mean the most colourful and spellbinding painting you have ever seen. But it doesn´t end there. The more you contemplate the painting, the more details you see, the more forms begin to take shape and suddenly every stroke of the brush makes sense and adds to the perfection of this grand masterpiece.