Friday, September 6, 2013

I mutton believe I’m Kolkata right now, but maybe the goat parade will help

As I sat through my first rain storm, sipping chai and eating a mutton tikya egg roll (it was incredible), I had to take a step back. A mere three days before, I was on the tail end of a 2 month attempt at stagnation. I had found a home in Chiang Mai. I had met a great group of friends. I had a beautiful room that I could call home. I had even found a new passion in Thai massage. Alas, as much as I loved being there, my affinity for movement wouldn’t dissappear. That, of course, led me to jumping ship (figuratively) and heading to a land that is supposed to change even the most steadfast of travelers; India. While 3 days is not enough to really asses India as a whole, it is long enough to get the juices flowing in a less than succinct manner…

·         I think it will be awhile until I know what to think about India, but three days in, I feel like I’ve begun what will be a long courtship, and a very long education. What I can deduce so far is that India is ABSOLUTELY a rhetorical question. The sub-continent is an opaque conundrum that leaves even the wisest of folks perplexed. The inner-sage in me has been subtly hinting at the journey and destination lying the solution to the problem...

·         My family has always revolved around food. Yes that makes us sound like gluttons, but truth be told, if you’ve been to any Mulvany dwelling, you’ve been fed. It only seems fitting that my first days here have been cemented by friendships based on eating. The owner of the Taj Continental has become my local guru. Today he spoke with me for a few hours about any topic of my choice, as well as the inner workings of his beloved city, and Bengali culture. The juice man is homeboy (even though I think he should stop making Café Lassi), and the chai stand near my hotel is the hub for keeping up-to-date on local happenings.

·         While traveling in a bustling city, it is interesting the people one meets. Since much of the society in Kolkata has set schedules, I’ve found myself befriending many of the local “street,” kids. Most are a few years younger than me, and have moved to the city from neighboring villages to work. They have jobs, money, and drama, as well as a fluid routine. They’re not bad company at all for a drifter. 


·         I had a lot of anxiety before actually coming to India. While some of it was warranted, I realized it was based in FEAR. The fact is, though, I’m not scared of India. I’m scared of a place that is so associated with change and revelation not, in fact, having that impact on me. What if I leave India in the same shape in which I found it?


      India is the best place to learn how to unabashedly do exactly what you want. I’m pretty sure the dude herding goats through the center of the city was telling each passerby exactly how many fucks he gives…


          While I miss my homies in Chiang Mai, it is amazing how far away that existence already feels. I can’t even fathom the 7-11s, my roti shop, or hanging out at the Jazz Bar on Tuesday nights. It seems as if those times existed only in a distant dream, in a place I can only return to while in between sheets

·         America seems even further away than Chiang Mai

I hope that as I continue to journey through the storied sub-continent, my thoughts will become more succinct. I can’t promise this will happen... but being able to word vomit on a page does help. Here's to my new home for the next 3 months!

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