Saturday, October 01, 2011

Where My History Begins: The End is the Beginning - 9/30/11

Because the creative side of my brain is abuzz, I am going to try something different with these posts. I'm starting at the end and will work back through the journey. Maybe putting it all down in print will help me understand the who, what, when, and where that occurred while I was there; and why I feel the way I do. In a strange way, I feel I am going back to the future.

I had to pick up the dogs today. They spent 11 days at the kennel while I was on the trip. I missed my babies after seeing all the stray dogs in India. I also missed my vehicle. For 10 days I had been chauffeured around so I was looking forward to being behind the wheel of my own car. As soon as my sister dropped me off at the house, I jumped in the Xterra and headed north on 35 to Argyle. I had the windows down enjoying the cool weather and the warmth of the sun as it beamed down on my left arm. And as is my habit, the radio was blaring some rock as I hit a nice speed. As I turned off the interstate to take FM407, I looked down at the mehendi adorning my hands and arms.

So began the flood of thoughts about this trip I had taken. Driving down 407, looking at the horses and cattle in the pastures, the wide open spaces; I thought about everything I had seen in Bombay. The clean, the dirty, the beautiful, the not so pretty. The decay, the life. The poverty, the wealth. Then it hit me, for a much as life here in Texas is so very different than Bombay, it is exactly the same.

Take the photo of the beautiful cup of coffee, carefully crafted by a barrista at Cafe Coffee Day. A great coffee shop, with cups and mugs for purchase. Sandwiches, sweet treats, great tunes playing. They are open until midnight. It's their version of our Starbucks at a much better price with much better coffee. My coffee at SB has never been so pretty. Not different from here at all. Yes, the first time we caught an autorickshaw to take us down...more for the experience than the necessity. In the coffee shop, you found the hip and trendy, the worker, the student...everyone you would find in our SB.

During the day, there were people going to the shopping malls. Malls that would rival ours; sleek, modern, beautiful. I didn't make it into one, but drove past and could see it filled with shoppers. Not so different from our trip to the mall if you ignore the traffic and congestion.

Petrol stations dotting the corners of intersections. Just like here. What I would have given for a QT and 52oz cup of unsweetened iced tea.

Barber shops busy on a Sunday night with men of all ages getting their hair cut. People strolling streets stopping in local food stalls for some street food. Slightly different from here, but to me not unlike zipping into a fast food joint for something to eat.

I visited a KFC and a McDonald' beef products (not that what McDonald's serves can really be called beef anyway) but still full of people...vegetarian and chicken selections. At Mickey D's you could have a Chicken Maharaja Mac or a McSpicy Paneer. Needless to say I had fries and a diet Coke.

Being back home and having settled into the daily routine of my life, I can appreciate the similarities I found in Bombay. But, there is a part of me that misses the differences....the incessant honking of horns as drivers warn each other; the high pitch whine of an auto rickshaw motor. I miss the crazy traffic that caused me to screech in fear, knowing that my untimely death was imminent. I no longer get to wonder in amazement how you can fit a family on a motorcycle; how a saree or shalwar kameez doesn't go up in flames as the women ride sidesaddle on the back of a motorcycle. I miss the challenge of crossing a street with oncoming traffic. I miss the curious stares of people as we pass by and me looking them with the same curiosity.

I miss smiling at anyone who was helping me and receiving a warm smile in return. I think I miss that the most. A smile that lit up the face and reached the eyes. I have photos of my new friends, each one of them smiling at some point...and every time I look at the pictures, I can't help but smile myself.

So you see, we aren't so different though 9,000 miles separate us. We all want love, happiness, security, comfort, peace, joy, and so much more.

While this trip had ended, I think the journey is only now beginning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to read, you hit upon the exact reason people want and need to travel outside of their comfort zone!!