Yesterday I bid a fond farewell to Ken, who alas has to return to NYC and his work schedule. I think it is safe to say that Ken was genuinely surprised (and at times quite unsettled) by the chaos of India, but after this trial by fire it is also true that he will not be so shocked again. The next time (if there is a next time) will be much easier to deal with. Ken says he would like to come back, but only time will tell. India is the kind of place that works on the mind not only while here but in reflection after the fact. Ken will need some time to become either further intrigued or suffer bouts of PTSD about his trip here, and those feelings will determine whether he decides to come back one day. As I have said before many times, I always discourage people from coming to India if they have less than a month to spend, because one needs an initial adjustment period before one can see the wonder and beauty and cultural interest behind the disorienting chaos. Of course it was a great safety to Ken that I was here and traveling with him, as it shielded him from some of the uncertainty. And I was really happy that Ken was here as well. Beyond the fact that we are friends and I think that Ken is a really great guy, showing him around (even as we saw things that were new to me) allowed me a unique perspective. Being able to see Ken’s reactions (as well as judging my own) gave me a nice bridge view into past and present, and an awareness of both that is not often able to be experienced simultaneously. Being a guide and negotiating the experiences and daily logistics of this trip allowed me to hone a few skills that are less used when one is alone.