Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Out of the Mist, Coming Down the Mountain

Hired a jeep and drove out of the mountain down the road from Darjeeling to Bagadora where the way is full of switchbacks, breathtaking cliffs, sloping tea plantations and waterfall steps. We pass people along the road, shouldering bundles, carrying water jugs on their heads, stoppng to catch their breath. Me in the back with the windows rolled down letting the mist enter the vehicle and pass across me like cleansing smoke. How good does wind on your face feel? How good? You know you are alive when you haven't shaved for a month and a half, the only silence is the beating of your own heart, and you are on the move.
I don't know any other way to be. I have to let the place I am in hold me in sway. Perhaps that is a weakness. Perhaps it is foolishness to be affected by my surrounding, but why else go anywhere, why else even attempt to write or know poetry, why live if not to feel?
I've thought long and hard about my time in India so far. It has moved and shaken me. I wasn't prepared for the level of mental commitment, the toll it is taking on my psyche. But I will come here again. I have fallen in love with this country, for better or worse, and I won't come alone.
I recieved word from my school that they are expecting me back. It will be good to be in the classroom again. I need people around me, people I can tell stories too, people I can listen to and get to know, learn from, and most importatly, try to help. After India, there is nothing I believe in more than using my professional life to serve. India has humbled me in ways that I never thought possible. I'm going to live and work, yes, but I am going to give all I can to others.
In Calcutta I have a plan to do something I have always wanted to do. I am scared and unsure. It is like many things in my life, but yet I am just driven to its completion. I am drawn to this city. I can't explain why. But I arrive in Bagadora and wait in the airport, knowing that I will go to Calcutta, to the worst part of the city, the most filthy slum, I will find the people there and join them for one night. I only know I have to. I have to do something to make sense all that I have seen. I feel I have no other choice. It's as if India is willing me to do this so that I can understand.

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