I have returned home, safely, from my second trip to India. This trip was to South India, Chennai, for my friend Bob & Deepthi's wedding. It was a truly incredible experience dazzled with color and beauty. My mendhi is almost completely faded from my hand and feet, I've got just a few more days of my malaria medication and I'm still scratching a few mosquito bites that haven't yet healed. My experience in colorful India is still fresh in my mind and luckily, I've got the pictures and a full journal of thoughts to forever remind me!
Traveling is always enlightening. Exploring a place like India is all the more enlightening on a number of different levels. Being away from home allows me to appreciate all that I am blessed with (down to every little last thing: privacy, clean(er) air, having safe, warm water to bathe in, etc.) and reminds me of how precious each and every moment of my life is.
It is impossible to be unmoved by
India. Once you visit, you'll never be the same again. I learned this after my first trip back in Spring of 2009 to Mumbai, and have been reminded of it once again. India is a land of contrasts and diversity. It's a complete assault to all 5 of your senses each and every moment that you are there. It's intense, wonderful, depressing, frustrating, filthy and mind-blowing all
at once! The roads are overcrowded, chaotic and have no sanitation. People are buzzing everywhere amongst massive amounts of dust and blasting heat. Walking down the street is totally overstimulating to both your eyes and nose. You'll pass men in their crisp white button-down shirts wearing scuffed up sandals with dirty feet, women in their gorgeously intricate saris, and naked children playing in the dusty streets. You'll walk through smells of something sweet and musky immediately followed by thick, hot car exhaust, then get a whiff of something spicy cooking accompanied by th
e gagging smell of human and/or animal feces. And that may all happen within just a few seconds of each other! For me, this aspect of India brings so much awareness to the fact that I'm ALIVE. It's so easy to get enveloped in our daily/weekly routines that we glide through many of our days on autopilot. My consistent yoga practice has brought awareness to so much of my life, but it never hurts to keep on being reminded to BE HERE NOW.
My favorite shots from both of my trips are the portraits I was able to snap. Each person smiles so genuinely, radiating light. They truly smile directly from their heart!
(Pictures from top to bottom = The beautiful mendhi painted on my hand, my twin cousins and I in our traditional Indian clothes on the day of the wedding ceremony, two ladies enjoying the ocean's loveliness as the sun was setting in Pondicherry.)