Like any one who has ever gone on a trip to India, my first few days were unexpected. I think that’s how it goes. In the weeks leading up to my trip, people kept telling me to prepare, but I wasn’t really sure how. Now I’m starting to realize that maybe preparation isn’t that possible. Because whatever you’re expecting it to be, it becomes something else entirely.
I can’t really articulate what I was expecting Delhi to be, except to say maybe something a bit more severe. The heat was hot (I got heat rash all over my back the first day), the smells interesting, but not too awful. The people were really nice (even if the men are super awkward). A little bit of LA in the traffic, a bit of Rabat in the traffic laws. Some Mexico City. And also a bit of something completely different.
We took the overnight train to Mcleodganj. Crammed into a sleeper cabin with a family of 6, including 2 very small yet very loud children who kept screaming “mammmaaa! panniiiii!” (mom! water!) every few minutes. It was cute for the first hour (no, it wasn’t).
As I climbed into the bunk precariously dangling from the ceiling,crawled into my sleep sack, pulled on my headphones and played some music from my friends’ band, I couldn’t help but smile: I am happiest in transit. All the nerves and anxiety that I’ve been feeling for the past few years just melt away. There’s a sense of peace that comes with just doing, not over-thinking and certainly not worrying about what others think. The worries come from others– they are not native to me. They only come when I stay still for too long.
The kids in the bunk below me shout “Gooooodniiiight!” and the cabin goes dark. This is uncomfortable and sticky and loud. It is unknown and unfamiliar. It is a little strange and a little beautiful. It is how I like it.