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I Miss Her

ABU DHABI, U A E

It’s been 6 days since I left India and it feels like an age. I feel like I’m in a void and not connecting to much.

After 5 months of travel and sleeping on mostly hard Indian beds with brick-like pillows and taking every mode of transport conceivable; from scooters and motorbikes to taxis and tuk-tuks, donkeys and trains, sleeper buses, bicycles and boats, my body, especially my neck was way out of alignment. Needless to say, I was in desperate need of a chiropractic adjustment as the 50 rupee trip to the barber in Varanasi for one didn’t quite do the trick.

I didn’t realize quite how much I missed India until I got in a taxi to go to the chiropractor in Abu Dhabi a few days ago and my driver was Indian. I was so excited to see him. He was so incredibly kind and we talked the entire way to my appointment. We shared our love for the Indian land, people and culture. He was so happy to hear that I had been to the town he had grown up in in Kerala.

I shared much of my trip and what I’d learned and found myself unexpectedly choking back tears as I spoke with him because I was missing it so much.

As we were saying our goodbyes I opened up my journal to write his name down and out fell a little blue flower I had picked up from the ground at the botanical garden in Bangalore on one of my last days there.

I gave it to him and he took it and cupped it carefully in his hands, noticing how incredibly delicate it was. With big eyes and a huge smile, he asked: “Is it from India?” I said yes and told him it was for him. He was so delighted and said he would keep it to remember me. It was such a touching interaction I felt so blessed to have had. Just as I feel so blessed that India welcomed me and cradled me in her arms and showed me so much of her and of me; through her perfect imperfection, through her chaos and her beauty, through her ritual and her rawness.

She is in me and has forged a deep and rich crevice in my heart that is filled with jewels and a longing to return.

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This Land I Love

B A N G A L O R E, I N D I A

I’ve been tossed and tumbled in this place like a pebble on the river floor. 
I’ve been pulled by the flow of traffic on this dusty street.
I’ve been shown my resilience through these peoples eyes 
Their hardworking hands that give what they can 
My edges have been softened by these children’s beaming smiles
My wit has grown stronger with these crafty salesmen’s hooks 
My center has exploded with the burning fire of faith for all the questions answered and for those still wrapped in mystery 
Another day begins with more lightness and more grace 
With more trust in flow and pace
Floating with the current
Dancing down this street
Grateful for these feet
That have carried me so far
My eyes are wet with tears
As I try to contain my fears
And leave this land I love 
I love, I love, I love

A Holy Place

V A R A N A S I, I N D I A

I’m in the oldest city in the world. 
I walk passed Buffalo on the street who don’t want to know me
Thin and wounded dogs I pray will make it one more day
I feed a few but it’s not enough
I’m covered in dust from the streets and ash from burning bodies 
The smell of flesh and banyan wood 
A heavy fog creates reflections in mystical silver hues Beyond the faded grandeur of ancient architecture
Tablas, flutes, and sitars sound, lifting spirits beyond the veil 
An ancient place
A holy place
A filthy place
A place we come to cleanse
A place we come to bask in our shadow
While we light candles in prayer
I leave you soon, 
Grateful to have been
To have seen
To have heard
To have felt the denseness Of this uniquely contrasted beauty of a beast.