That feeling of arriving, of coming home to a place that you’ve never been. That was India, in all of its shimmery flood and flow of sensory impressions. We, wide-eyed and wide-open, stumbled into this chaos, these smells, the loudness and heat from the cocoon of the airplane, the sterile grey of the Munich airport, the silent steps and hushed conversations of home, like two single feathers into an explosion: drifting wildly in the rushing hot air.
With some days to dig our feet into Goan sand, to sap the hum from our bodies into the patient Indian Ocean, we adventured inland on our small expedition, again fresh and free like even younger and more naïve versions of ourselves. We moved through that Indian air like moving through honey, the light a little bit golden-filtered, and the hum and throb of the hive that is India pulsing around us, in a slurry sort of slow motion.
There were moments, of course, when that honey filter flickered away, and we stood stark and small in the crashing sounds, the smells, the rawness that exists where there is no membrane between things. We let those moments roll over and through us, only sometimes shielding faces or hearts when we were too human and scared to look. This kind of bright looking is not romanticizing, it’s not trivializing, it’s a peeling away of ones own membrane and letting the outside in, it’s experience in essence.
In all of this experiencing that we did, it was impossible to feel as a spectator. Instead, we were pulled directly to the bosom of the thing, mashed up with all of those colors and smells and the rawness until we became a part of the hive for our time there. And as a part of that living and breathing and pulsing organism, a channel opened up—a channel that went straight up, straight to the source of things. We understood for tiny moments the connectedness that we are, what oneness is, and that even without membranes to part us from each other, from the whole, we don’t have to be afraid. There is a benevolence in the chaos that is Indian street traffic, a benevolence that guides our journey across that busy street.
Photo Credit: Elena Alger