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Friday, December 23, 2011

On holiday.Far,far from home.




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 JodpurTo 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

3 comments:

  1. Awaiting word! I've been fictionally and non-fictionally immersed in India this past month, reading The Space Between Us by my new friend, Thrity Umrigar. And now Maximum City about Mumbai/Bombay. (I think maybe the Mum v. Bom question is kind of like Merry Christmas v. Have a nice holiday dust-up. But unlike the latter, the former does not inspire me to have an opinion. Yay, I say.) Just reading along. And, as noted, waiting to hear all about it from you. Happy India!

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    Replies
    1. -Annie, and how did i miss this message, with so few comments ever posted here?
      Do you know Thrity Umrigar -- I just learned this past weekend two things: that she's Cleveland's very own, and that the best ever indie book store is Loganberry Books on Larchmere. What a venue! Lucky you !
      Must read Maximum City. Absolutely Mumbay, uh bai.
      The trip was. .. for lack of words: amazing. As you can see from posts, we came back with many varied impressions and photos.

      Don't know that you will read this message here... will send directly to you as well.

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  2. yes...what you said is correct &
    Hyderabad is known by the nickname City of Pearls. This 500 year old city is well known for its spicy food,
    including the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, and the remnants of the Mughal culture like the Charminar & Golconda Fort.

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