Travel Bug

At the end of my month’s adventures.

At the end of my month’s adventures in India, I was in Kolkata (known as Calcutta in English) – the biggest city I have ever seen.  If you’ve ever been to New York City, you know how busy and crowded it is, how the streets smell funny and the throngs of people jostle you every which way.  Now keep that image of that crowded city.  Add about two times the number of people, and multiply all of that into a city roughly twice the size of Los Angeles.  That’s Calcutta.  The smog was a thick brown blanket over the whole thing, and the people were navigating the city in every imaginable way – rickshaws, motorcycles, autorickshaws, car, taxi, tractor, mule-drawn cart, bicycle.  The marketplaces I shopped at stretched for miles, I’ve never seen so many colors!  But I only had time to spend one day in that wild city.  The next morning my friends drove me to the airport, where I caught a plane back to Kerala.  Believe it or not, I had only traveled throughout the whole country with one small backpack!  So I had very little luggage.  I was wearing a cotton Sari of rich eggplant purple with yellow and orange trim – a Sari is a traditional women’s style of dress in India, and it is basically one huge piece of fabric, 9 yards long, that you wrap and pleat and drape in a stylish way around your body.  It’s very beautiful, but not that travel-friendly.  When I landed back in Kerala, another friend picked me up – on a motorcycle.  I have always wanted one, but had never ridden one before, and certainly not wrapped up in a Sari!  I had to ride side-saddle, with one arm around my friend’s shoulder.  It was so exhilarating to ride that bike, weaving in and out of traffic, my feet almost touching the ground at times, the blue blue sky above and the green land all around, wind whipping my hair into hopeless tangles (that it later took a whole 3 hour train ride to detangle).  When I got back to the college that night, I had a last meal with my beloved yoga teacher, Dr. Sunitha, and then she and her husband drove me to the airport, where I said a tearful goodbye to them and to the wonderful, surprising country that had treated me with such wonder and kindness all through January 2013.


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