Mrs. Chatterbox and I have returned from India after the adventure of a lifetime. Thanks to all of you who helped launch our trip with your good wishes. Our health and spirits remained in good shape throughout our journey and I’ve come home with stories of this fabled land I can’t wait to share.
India, we learned, is not really a country; it’s a collection of over five hundred formerly independent kingdoms—more like a continent— and most of our journey took place in Delhi and Rajasthan. We barely scratched the surface of India. Our guide, Devender, told us if we slipped out of Rajasthan he’d have difficulty understanding the neighboring dialects.
On first blush, Mrs. C. and I found India overwhelming; nowhere does logic seem to prevail; especially on the roads. There are too many Indians to teach how to drive so everyone learns on their own, and by our definition they drive on the wrong side of the road. Traffic laws seem optional as buses, cars, tuk-tuks, rickshaws, camels, cows and goats swirl into a maelstrom of congestion that somehow manages to see everyone reaching their destinations. A horn is more important than brakes, and the din of traffic is often painful to endure, but it’s possible that the pulsing heartbeat of humanity beats nowhere more loudly than in India.
Mrs. C. and I are still trying to process all that we have seen and done, including camel
rides over sand dunes on the Pakistan border to watch the sun set over the Thar desert, nights spent among hunting trophies in the palaces of maharajas, lands oozing with cultural achievements making India for a millennia the richest place on earth. But most of all, we were impressed by the warmth of the Indian people. We were told Indians treat guests like deities, and we found this to be so. People living in hovels with precious little lined the streets when we passed through their villages, waving and clapping. We felt very welcome.
India is a place of shocking contradictions—grotesque ugliness lurking in the shadows of astonishing beauty. Women of timeless grace and serenity wrapped in kaleidoscopes of color, breeze past ancient temples and cell phone towers on mopeds, dodging sacred cows and pedestrians whose lives haven’t changed since the days of Buddha.
Yes, it’s true—Indian food is spicy, and it will be a long time before I tackle curry dishes, and never again for breakfast. In the future I’ll have a lot to say later about places we visited like the Taj Mahal. But for now Mrs. C. and I are recovering from out twenty hour trek home, staring at the walls while we process all we’ve seen and experienced. And we’re wallowing in how beautiful and orderly America is, how immaculate, how great and abundant the food, the miracle of safe tap water.
Perhaps Dorothy Gale said it best: “There’s no place like home!”
Tales from our Adventure to India will only be posted at chubbychatterbox.com/blog so I hope you'll join us there.