India

Eyes might pop out when they see you. There’s no social filter, they’ll just keep on staring. Sometimes even if you tell them off.

They will try to impress you with their world travels and money, they will beg for 10 rupees or a chapatti.

The explosion of amazing colours light up the streets, where there’s cow dung and trash everywhere.

People will go on spiritual awakening journeys, spend their day learning, meditating, chanting – and get crazy high at night.

Say just one thing you’d like to see changed in India – one will tell you to leave and never come back, another will nod their head, with a sad expression, and invite you in for chai masala.

The streets are a mayhem of cows, horses, elephants, donkeys, camels, dogs, goats, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, scooters, motorbikes, cars, busses, trucks and pedestrians – and somehow it just works. It’s a constant inferno of crazy traffic, excessive use of loud horns and shouting from the markets and shops.

The food is magnificent, flavourful, home- and handmade – and will eventually make you long for a bowl of raw veggies.

I wonder if the mass tourism is destroying the culture here, or if it is strong enough to hold the fort. I wonder if the pressure from the Western world, to create equal rights for women, will ever reach the small villages. I wonder if the arranged marriages really are a bad thing here? – I mean, in a country where women (rough generalisation) hardly counts as human beings, aren’t the girls better off with a background check of the guy, before they marry him? I wonder if the people here are interested in a revolution, or just a change, at all. I fear that the Western world’s (probably well-meaning) attempt to create changes, is really pulling a Western way of living, over people here, killing all culture and norms of other societies. It makes me kind of sad to see an Asian country, try to become Westernized. I wonder where the line between cheering for equal and human rights, and ruining the unique culture is.

Sitting on a rooftop café, looking down at the beautiful green Ganges, I cannot imagine a more magnificent place to be. It fills me with humbleness and gratitude. Why would anyone ever leave? Heading out on the streets again, makes me long for my departure from Delhi.

Being here makes me realize, just how important education is. GO! Malala. You have my deepest respect.

Being here makes me realize, just how easily we are affected by the media. Throw away the TV – we are losing our ability to think for ourselves.

Maybe my India-limit is 1 month a time. Last time I was here, I was overloaded after the same period of time.

I see and feel the beauty, greatness, magic, openness, generosity – as well the greediness, brutality, injustice and poverty. The two extremes blend in normal everyday life here.

Everything here seems like a bombardment to the senses. The food, the colours, the people, the traffic, the smiles, the looks, the children, the polarities… Plunge in or get out. No other way.

I’ve been diving in this polarized, beautiful mess for a month – and it’s time for me to leave. I have no doubt in this regard. It makes me kind of sad – as well as happy to the bone. Sad because it will be the end of yet another 8 months of travelling, learning, growing, exploring and expanding. Happy because I know I’m following my flow and my heart is cheering over going to Copenhagen and seeing all my loved ones again.

There’s no happiness without sadness. There’s no beauty without the ugly. And out of confusion and clutter, clarity will rise. From my heart, with the deepest gratitude – thank you Indonesia, thank you Australia, thank you Malaysia, thank you India – Denmark, see you in a bit.

Editor, Lisa Cosmillo