India: Namaste

Stepping off the plane in Seattle, I was overwhelmed. Face to face with a Christmas tree, I had honestly forgotten it was that time of year. The trees, the television monitors, the cell phone service, the bag and bags and bags, they were all getting to me. Really though I was overwhelmed by what was missing. I was no longer in constant company with the same fourteen people, I no longer had people watching my every move (as staring is a national sport for Indians) and I no longer had people overly eager to communicate. I was back in America.

As the overwhelming waves have settled a week later I’m still struggling to decide how I can possibly share my experience in India. Disconnected for most of my trip I’ve been left with the task of trying to deconstruct three months to my family and friends in just one sitting.

As every interaction starts in India, I’m going to start this with

Winding through a maze of stone wall, we walked through a gateway and into a backyard that would impact us all differently. A backyard full of giggles, childhood games and endless exchange of charades to communicate. Sitting with “grandma”, “mom” and Imesh we swapped smiles, understanding, eye drops and sunglasses.

Besides the physical lenses being shared, a new perspective was placed in front of me. Two hours went by with a barrier of language being crushed, beaten down, destroyed. Words turned out to be just that–words. We had meaningful conversation regardless.

A couple days later we trailed the family out of their village, Martoli, as they headed out of the mountains for the winter. Each with only one bag tied to their body and the goat plodding along they went on their way. India is a country that never rests; the cars keep honking, the porters keep marching, the cows keep roaming. Living in a country that is so jammed pack you become limited to jut the necessities. Whatever it is you can carry on your back. Watching this family descend deeper into civilization with just the necessities inspired me.

I can be sustainable with just the items on my back. 


5 responses to “India: Namaste

  1. Coming back during the holiday advertising season must be culture shock times 10. I work for NOLS in Lander, Wyo. Never been to India so it’s great to read stories of everyones experiences.

  2. lovely.

  3. You are a great storyteller Mary– with words AND with pictures. Look forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I just found your blog from the NOLS website and I’m heading out to do the India Mountaineering course in March. Really, really excited and I’m glad I can read about some of your experiences to get psyched up for my own.

    Question: what pack did you use? I’m 5’3″ and am having a tough time finding a pack big enough that fits.

    Thanks for writing! Can’t wait to read more of the archives!

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