I have to admit to having had a little trepidation about returning to India. Had I changed too much to appreciate it? Would all the things it took me awhile to get used the first time resurface with a vengeance? Would I find the crush of people, the pollution, the poverty, the chaos to be too much? Maybe I had become a different person after all these years, one overly accustomed to my New York life and ways, and I would be bothered by all those things in ways I was not before I left India over seven years ago.
Well, I needn’t have worried, there is something magic about this place. From the moment I stepped off the plane and got in the car to see Nik and Rittu, who I am staying with, I was charmed again. And in the last day we have got caught up a bit, Rittu and I wandered around a little and had a thali, and I met up with Alok and Vikrum and a bunch of their friends last night for dinner down in Colaba. Seeing old friends here has been wonderful, it feels that no time has passed between us.
Although I have only been here a day, so much seems easier than the first time I was here. Getting from place to place seems faster, with traffic flowing much more smoothly than I remember. Taking taxis is much easier, I don’t have to argue about fares at all. Getting train tickets is much easier, you can just order them online now. Even walking on the street is much easier, I just don’t get harassed the way I used to. Is it my beard, or something else? Have I changed or has India? I am almost regretting deciding to spend so little time here on this trip.