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Monday, November 12, 2007

India: Essence

Most travelers recognize. That travel strips away one's personal trappings. The web of friends, support, familiarity of place. Are gone. And I am left with only myself. My thoughts. And a bag of my belongings. Clothes that when I return I will scarcely be able to look at. A few new scarves bought in the market. Some books. There's little escape. From seeing your own weaknesses. And strengths. Your own essence.

During an open window ride back into Calcutta, smog gathers in my lungs. I admire the swirling color of saris. Babies' eyes ringed with kohl. Incense burning at the goddess Kali's blue feet.

Auto-rickshaws, rickshaws pulled by old men, and cars. Countless near misses. Vehicles passing by inches. And the noise. The noise of traffic is monumental. The rickhaw drivers tap a small bell as a warning. The auto-rickshaws have horns they squeeze which squeak like a thousand dog toys. The car horns blare. The truck horns bellow. A cacaphony of sound. And color.

I return to my hotel, my eyes and ears exhausted.

Today there is no traffic. There is a general strike, called by a political party. No horns. Nowhere to go. Not much to do. The city has come to a standstill.

5 Comments:

Blogger meno said...

All alone in the middle of so many people. Some days that sounds really good.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Tell me more! I'll be in India in a few months, so I come on your blog hungry for stories.

1:43 PM  
Blogger gr said...

millions of people come to a standstill! whoa.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

I imagine the standstill is more amazing than the chaos.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Susan as herself said...

Everytime I see India on TV or in the movies, I am overwhelmed by the traffic. Unbelievable. I don't know if that would sit well with me...

4:01 PM  

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