Breathe. Just breathe. That’s what I tell myself in anticipation of an eighteen-hour flight today. I can’t imagine Christmas Day in Delhi, but that’s where we’ll be, traveling in India with good friends. Friends who know their way.
I’ve taken up yoga as a means to prepare: mind and body, spine, joints and stamina. We’ve taken weeks to pack and deliberate: what to wear, what to leave behind. We’ve taken the usual precautions: vaccines for flu, polio, hepatitis and typhoid, pills for malaria and intestinal distress. We’ve taken the advice of experienced voyagers. Don’t drink the water. Eat nothing that hasn’t been cooked. Bring sunblock. Watch for monkeys that drop from trees to steal sunglasses. (?) Be open to all things beautiful and horrible and unexpected.
We’ll take our cameras and notebooks to capture and record as much as we can. I imagine: nothing can really prepare us for what we are about to see and experience.
Unlike travelers heading home to family this weekend, we leave behind what is dear and familiar to us. We will take our leave: to gaze upon the Taj Mahal at sunset. To explore the "Pink City" streets of Jaipur. To delve into the “Brahmin-blue” lanes of the old city of Jodpur. To step into the romance and history of a “floating” Lake Palace in Udaipur. To follow the ancient trade roads of silk and spice to Hyderabad (Cyberabad), India’s new software dynasty.
There are places we go to escape. Places we go to get away and play. There are places we go to discover something of the world, something new of ourselves.
India. Home to 1.2 billion people on this planet. I can only imagine: once we travel there, we won’t come back quite the same.
To fellow holiday travelers, wishing you safe passage, wherever you venture.
With greetings to dear family and friends, visitors on these virtual pages, writers far and wide ... wishing you all a happy holiday season and a healthy, peaceful and productive New Year.
(Will be back in this space soon. As I imagine: changed, changed utterly.)
|Elephant Festival, Jaipur. Credit: Marjorie Lang, My Shot, National Geographic|