Views from the window. . . on the road from Delhi to Mumbai
My view from the window is a blank page, on which a cursor blinks awaiting digital input from fingers on the keyboard.
I am lost in thought. In mind and spirit, I am still in India, an American tourist seated in the back seat of a white Toyota, grabbing digital images as we go. Camera at hand, I note that my left palm is painted with henna, applied in dots and dabs, lines and scrolls - forming the petals of fanciful flowers.
Say what you will, imagine what you wish, sojourners all, nothing in the world prepares you for the streets of India.
On foot, on hoof, on wheels, on paws, on crutches, on wings. . . in India, the rules of the road are mere suggestions. On the road I can’t help but gape and wonder: where do 1.3 billion people possibly go from here?
Impossible. Impassable. India.
From Delhi to Agra we drive. Then through Rajasthan; to the granite “Pink City” of Jaipur; and on to Jodhpur, city washed in blue. Next stop: the Golden City, Jaisalmer, named for its yellow fort sitting on sandstone hills. American tourists on gilded holiday, well-guided and accommodated in a white Toyota van, our baggage strapped to the roof, we ride in indolent comfort. At leisure, we point and click, grabbing shots from our windows.
Noting how unattended animals weave through traffic.
Noting how twelve passengers pile into a taxi.
Noting how families ride deftly on motorbikes. No helmets to cover heads. No car seats for children.
Noting the incessant use of horns, and the patience of drivers, motoring in utter chaos. No hand gestures, no road rage.
Noting the vibrance and delicate balance of life on the streets, driving against all odds, in appalling deprivation.
India in ruins. Rising.
India in rags, weavers of fine textiles to the world, cutters and polishers of diamonds and precious gemstones, merchants of new technologies.
India from rags to riches and wealth beyond reason. From smog-laden air and dusty roads, we turn in for the night, guests welcomed as royalty in palaces now branded as Taj hotels.
They say that India never sleeps. From our windows, India never even blinks. A country of beautiful and welcoming eyes, the windows to a billion gentle souls. We carry home a kaleidoscope of images, people and places, moments frozen in time. A time we will never forget.
Never. Ever India.
(to be continued)
Thanks for traveling by