Saying Goodbye

mila: An indescribable heaviness settles upon me. Looking into the near future, I see that I am checking my baggage at the Emirates counter, sitting in a steel chair, waiting for a 777 to kidnap me overseas. A sorrow, the thought of leaving this enchantment behind me. For how long my return will be is unknown. What is known is that a part of me has clung to this country. I assume that if India does you right then it traps you. Something about the pulsing heart of this place that is close to an addiction. The streets are littered with garbage and sometimes the stench of human and animal poverty whirls so thickly in your nose you can taste it. Things are a little off. But if you squint, you can see past all of it… Right into the core of what this country is about, which I agree with most, is the love. Love is what keeps beat going around here. The class difference is quit stark here and something has to keep these people running… It’s all about survival, all about family, all about providing… All love. Something that I have become very fond of here is the no complaint policy. There is no real policy and I’m not sure there is even an unspoken rule about complaining… But what I have come across is that people complain very little here. Those that have something to complain about never do… Of course I am talking about the impoverished. The slums are checkered throughout the city, it is inescapable, a reminder wherever you go. The children are usually playing but not always… Sometimes they are sent off into the streets to tap on car windows to beg for change. Homeless families huddle on the sidewalks to make their daily homes from tarps and blankets, sometimes smiling, sometimes with that permanent frown, the kind that reflects a hard lived life. During the day it’s all about getting by but at night when there is a gathering of them on the street, they are deep in conversation whilst building a roadside fire. Just another day in Mumbai. At times of being here has made me so angry… I see these magnificent buildings and only a few meters away is a sprawling mass of slum dwellings and businesses. Everyone has gotten used to it. But I guess it’s the same in America… When I was in New Orleans a throng of people lived under the I-10 bridge, everyone got used to seeing that poverty too. I find that it is very easy to compare and contrast the two countries and they both have their rights and wrongs… Neither is any better than the other, I suppose it’s just what you consider “home”. If “home” is where the heart is, as they say, then wherever your heart goes then you’re always at home. And I guess that India has become a home to me because a part of my heart will be left here… It cannot be expressed what India can do for you but what is certain is that you definitely have to surrender to its ins and outs, pretties and uglies, brightness and shadiness… I surrendered and I’m glad I did because I have an appreciation for my heritage, my ancestry that I never used to pay much mind to in my years past. Although I say bye right now, I know that I will be returning… Soon.

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