A month has elapsed and I can’t believe it. I’m starting to panic. Starting to feel like I need more time to explore and discover. I’ve been here an entire month and three days and I’ve hardly seen anything, but the teeniest, tiniest, most minuscule tip of the Indian iceberg. If only work didn’t get in the way of traveling.
This weekend Claire and I drove (I should really say Mr. Rao drove and we slept) to the neighboring state of Kerala. Right near the border is Wayanad, the least populated district of Kerala, known for its dense jungles and tea/coffee plantations. We stayed in a tree house in the town of Vythiri. Yes, a tree house. Doesn’t that sound fun? Well it was, and it wasn’t. Besides the damp bed and moldy pillows, the view was unforgettable, the absence of noise was eerily calming and the monkeys came right up to our porch. They peed on our coffee table, stole my first aid kit and tried to eat my umbrella, but were quite entertaining all the while. Nature in full force.
After we moved into our “tree house”, which wasn’t much more than a wooden platform covered by wicker, we set off on a hike with a tour guide, of course. Claire and I have lost a lot of our independence being in India. We are both use to doing everything ourselves. In India, there is always somebody there to carry your bags, serve your food, open your door or escort you no matter the distance. There is a job for everybody and if you try to do something for yourself, it is almost taken as an insult. So in doing as the locals do, we had our tour guide take us around the plantations and the whole time I felt like I was in a Snapple commercial as he described the process of tea cultivation, harvesting and roasting. He was carrying around a water bottle filled with white liquid. When I asked him whether it was milk, he laughed and said, “It’s antiseptic for the leeches.” Ew. Unfortunately I have the type of blood that mosquitoes and leeches seem to love. Good thing that water bottle wasn’t just milk. I will spare you the bloody details.
Next weekend, we’re going on a safari in Bandipur. Elephants, tigers and bears oh my! Well no bears actually, but they report seeing tigers six days out of the week so we hope to catch a glimpse.
I’m waiting for that spiritual awakening that’s associated with traveling to India. That moment of inner peace and clarity. That life affirming moment that changes your life forever. I’ve seen little glimpses of it in the beauty of the nature and the openness of the people. Yet, I’m still waiting. I’m learning that I need to stop trying so hard. To enjoy this one moment with patience, humility and grace.