I remember the first time I came here. Its now my 4th time. Delhi is a true onslaught to the mind. The chaos, the pollution, the dirt & dust, the rickshaws and crazy driving, the odd cow in the middle of the roads, beggars of all sorts and some with various injuries or missing limbs, holy men by the million, the Indian women who somehow manage to remain effortlessly clean in their sari’s while wandering through the dusty dirty streets.
This truly is a different country. As much as I loved travelling in NZ and Oz, they are still western, and you see the same beers, hear the same songs on the radio, and the culture is not much different. In India they are trying to adopt Western culture, I think too quickly and too readily, but its quite difficult to erradicate thousands of years of culture and traditions in a short space of time.
The gulf of extremes seems apparent in everything. The super rich to the super poor. If I go out on the streets near to my hostel lots of people are sleeping rough outside, many of the rickshaw drivers seem improbably fallen asleep balanced across their cycle rickshaw. Yet a short walk to Connaught place and you might glimpse the odd Bentley driving around.
I think what I really love here is the vibrancy, of the full on life. The people are so friendly, yes sure some of them are wanting your money and to sell you things, but so many are genuinely interested in others. It is so refreshing. There is still that innocence. That childlike intrigue in life, of mystery…perhaps the only real ground that can exist in is one of a bit chaos. When life becomes fully rigid and narrow, all excitement dies with it, in the craving for security and certainty..
So why not just stay home ? I think that the best reason to travel is in search of a kind of freedom. Some might say it is an escape, and they probably are right but only using their way of thinking, so much of what we do is an escape, watching TV, going on holiday, going to the bar to get drunk and so on.
What about just realising one day “Hey I can do something completely different, I’m enslaving myself more and more where I am…”. Bang. Save some money. Sell the stuff you don’t need. Minimise. Backpack. Plane ticket…
The freedom I am talking about though is allowing a space where you can see possibilites in a different way to live, where you start to think that perhaps all your old assumptions about what normal is, and “the way to do things” was all just an idea in your mind. This is why I would recommend India to everyone. If there is one country I have been to it is this wonderful country that accomplishes this so well !
They do things so differently that it really shakes up your belief system. Yet I think fundamentally at our core we are all the same, its our beliefs and thoughts that separate us.
So I started out with the Philosophical. There are other cool reasons I can think of for why travelling is great.
You get to meet wonderful people that you probably would never have had the opportunity to meet.
Getting to experience different cultures and getting more of a feeling for the interconnectedness of our planet.
I have a love of freedom. The question remains what exactly is freedom then ? My personal answer would be it is something to be found internally, but of course there are various external issues such as jobs, paying the rent that crop up and have to be contended with, but I think its fair to say that they also spring from one’s freedom or lack of it inside.
I was having a discussion about this with my friend yesterday and up came the subject of expressing one’s thoughts accurately.
“is it fair to say that at times when one articulates oneself completely without tautology and with exactitude others will misinterpret according to their own perception ?”
I think so. So did my friend.
What is the truth then ?
I suggested that perhaps it is somesort of grandiose illusion.
My friend said “it has to be, because i keep looking for it, and never find it”
I then proffered the hypothesis that perhaps the truth is just that
“the very fact that our endless habit is the quest of holding on to something that by its nature doesn’t let you hold on too anything”