Friday, July 15, 2011

Why I will cry when I leave India

There's not much I am sure of regarding my getting out of this mess in India. Actually there is only one thing for certain. When the doors close and the acceleration pushes me deep into my seat. As the wheels lift off and there is no going back. I will be crying.

Not tears of joy as I would have thought, but tears of loss, betrayal, and wistful what could have been. I feel like a man deeply in love with a siren knowing she is bad for me and knowing what could be. The fantasy of possibility dragging me onto the rocks. India has a beauty and a charm hard to express. It either sneaks its way into your heart or you are permanently immune to its charms. If, however, you are not immune there is no cure. You will forever love India as I do.

Every time there is renewed hope I will go home, I don't feel joy. I feel joy and a horrible tearing of my soul at the same time.

India has forever changed my view of the world. So often that is followed by tales of religious retreats and the spirituality of the Gurus. Horseshit! India is a cold gritty place with huge problems and violence and death on every corner, like NYC in the 70s. But it's also full of joy and camaraderie. A place where accidents are met with a rush toward the scene of people trying to help rather than sitting in cars hoping 911 will do something.

It's a world where politicians suck, but they all suck for the same reason. A world where we all agree the problem is round and the solutions are square. There is no pretending the corrupt greed of the rich and powerful are destroying the country, but rather the dismissive realization that politicians buy off rural voters at the expense of everyone else. Everyone knows corruption is rampant and nobody wants to stop it. The country is in agreement and is refreshingly open about how messed up it is. And I love it.

Contrast to the US where the economy is 12 freshly baked cookies and the rich take 11 while turning to the Tea Party member and saying “That Union worker is stealing your cookie.”

Here we all know the rich are taking all the cookies. Maybe the result is the same, but I never fear talking to someone about politics.

The world makes so much more sense here. The analysis of what works and doesn't falls on the stake of India. Nowhere more than here do pronouncements of what is right and what is wrong seem more laughable. Assertions that this cannot happen in the face of what I see everyday become comical.
India's major flaw is its intense divisive nature. India's major strength is its intense divisive nature. India has been a country divided for 6000 years. It may never become united, but having accepted the nature of India, it may have found a strength lost on Americans. The accepting nature of India to religious, ethnic, tribal, caste, and wealth divides allows an honest discussion not allowed in America.

Why will I cry when I leave? I will miss my little gecko friends eating the mosquitoes. I will miss the grunts of the cows. I will miss the kids playing cricket in every field and alleyway available. I will miss water Buffalo causing traffic jams at rush hour. I'll miss the monkey wars fighting for my food. I'll miss preserving drinking water because it is scarce. I'll miss washing with gray water because it is not. I'll miss the shop owners who take such pride in their little 3x5 shack. I'll miss the tea wallas who feel their tea is important to keeping you well and insist you drink enough whether they get paid or not. I'll miss the joy of the monsoon and mango season. A joy not owned by a corporation and shared by everybody. I'll miss great friends and souls so powerful I am like light and unable to escape. I'll miss talking without fear of boundaries. I'll miss not agreeing and it being OK. I'll miss long talks with Ashwin about the nature of man and structures of society. I'll miss Vishnu bringing a giant sack of joy wherever she goes. I'll miss late night auto rides across the city after an amazing night with friends. I'll miss Umair and Nickle trying to goad each other. I'll miss Surrengen and his fierce loyalty and guidance. I'll miss so many friends who refused to abandon me. I'll miss being asked if I want to see a movie and there are 20 other people. I'll miss freshers so happy to be making games.

I'll miss life. I'll miss a world where life exists on the streets and the front porch rather than tucked away on the patio or in the tv room. I'll miss the chickens and pigs darting through the underbrush rather than being disapproved of by a housing society. I'll miss a world where kids play and ride bikes and run around even though the traffic is a million times more dangerous. They don't get hit by cars and they're not fat. Go figure.

When I think I am going home I am filled with joy and sorrow. When those hopes are dashed I am filled with sorrow and joy. Leaving India will not be easy.

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