Thank You, India

Thank you, India, for giving me a harder shell, but a softer heart

For Purnima, Jaman, Danny, Sierra, Suniti, Dom, and so many others… friends of solid gold

For the Dalai Lama’s smile, and red bracelet blessings from the Karmapa of Tibet

For teaching me to use profanity freely and at the top of my lungs, whether I was being groped in public, or having my room broken into in the middle of the night by punk-ass, would-be thieves

For Goan sunsets

For giving me dysentery, worms, high fevers, noteworthy nausea… nothin’ scares me anymore 😉

For the remarkable teachers I was meant to have… Swami Mahadevananda, Leila, Sharat, Goenka-ji, Swami-ji…

For waking up the knowledge of yoga within me

For the roar of the lions at Neyyar Dam, and the sky turning pink over palm trees

For spontaneous cups of chai on a stranger’s front porch, high in the mountains of Kullu Valley

Thank you, India, for satisfying an urge I felt for so long

For teaching me a degree of modesty

For showing me how beautiful, pristine, and forward-thinking my side of the world is

For clarifying so many things

For brown skin, and big white smiles

For posh West Bandra, giggling elevator boys and heavy oak doors

For teaching me to wear bright colors and flowers in my hair

Thank you for showers under waterfalls, and wild apple orchards

For colorful washing, hung out to dry

For mists and slippery mud trails

For wild roses

For sneaky joints and strong coffee on Purnima’s patio

For my enchanted hut in Bhagsu, mythical, magical, a fairytale cottage that always seemed to float three feet above the ground

For phantom bears in dew-drop cornfields

Thank you, India, for showing me that the world is my home

For the Himalayas

For your distinct, lilting accent

For your remarkable mastery of English

For deities with blue skin and flowing white robes, cosmic minds and third eyes

For Shiva and Parvati, Krishna and Saraswati

For morning bhajans and tambourines

For stoned holy men who wear their sunglasses at night

For wild marijuana and rushing streams

For the overgrown Beatles ashram, ropy vines, broken windows, rising turrets, and chattering monkeys

Thank you, India, for making me stronger

For being the stage on which I practiced being the person I want to be

For giving me time and space

For braying donkeys, swaying cows, and snorting pigs in the middle of the city

For teaching me to spot a scam a mile a way

For your ancientness, and your deep and lasting connection with Truth

For Swami Sivananda, and Swami Vishnudevananda… may the purity of your teachings move through me with ease

For the icy Ganga in steaming Rishikesh

For your utter chaos- traffic jams and blaring horns, children on bicycles in the middle of the freeway, crazy cows charging foreigners on narrow suspension bridges, wild monkeys flinging themselves at me in unprovoked attack… there was never a dull moment!

For your curiosity- maddening at times, but endearing in retrospect

For your gentle monks and roadside fortune-tellers

For saddhus in loincloths who live in dull mud huts

For the incomparable hippies that are drawn to your land- bare-footed and feather-earringed, ash-smeared and spirit-seeking, fucked up, kneeling and praying, searching, searching, searching… I’ve never seen anything like it

For teaching me to feel my heart, and my blood, and my brain in meditation

For holding me as I fell more deeply in love

For doubled-over laughter, and confessions over coffee

For being the place where I finally grew up

Thank you, India

Thank you, thank you, thank you


2 Responses to Thank You, India

  1. b. shrope says:

    I LOVE it! Beautiful!!!

  2. sheila says:

    OMY Sarah – What a fantastic pice of writing! I laughed, cried,and just flat out eno]oyed your last entry. Your travel entries are always enjoyable but this one is just incredibly wonderful. I’m so glad you’re writing again!

    Love. m

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