Observing India

In India, the sunset looks hand painted by God

The colours blend seamlessly as the golden hues hold the last breath of warmth.

The sunrise is a slow and steady breath

an exercise in patience

as the sun decides what it wants to be

purples, yellows, pinks, oranges and blues colour the sky

an articulation of its indecisiveness before it settles into yellow,

hand in hand with the fresh breath of a new day.

In India, the streets are littered with men driving cars, auto rickshaws and motorbikes.

Horns angrily blare every second, wading off anticipated conflict.

Its drivers share similar frown lines; it is never too early for dissatisfaction.

But, in Bangalore, amongst a gang of motorcycles,

there is a woman.

Her saree is illuminated by the contrast of the unspoken uniform of men in western clothes.

Her hair is neatly braided, cascading down her left shoulder, with flowers sticking out to say hello.

Her presence feels political?

But she is just a woman on a motorbike.

In India academia is well revered

We attend schools with 1% acceptance ratings

Students train at education centres where their grades determine their futures

We drive past school billboards identifying their top 10 achievers.

To the percentile.

Ishaan got 97.8% this semester

Deepti got 96.3%

In India, the people are majestical, holding deep relationships with spirituality.

Centuries of knowledge is passed down

From father to son

Mother to daughter

Sister to friend

Friend to me

We are told that India stretches you in so many different ways

We are told that love makes you expand, fear makes you contract

We are feed samples of these insights

I am hungry for more

And suddenly

I mourn a relationship I never had.

In India, everyone is dancing.

Cultural performances, school days, markets, temples, on the streets, yoga foundations

In Rishikesh, I take out my phone to record a man dancing after a fire ceremony at the Ganges River.

It is called “letting go”

We light a stick of fire surrounded by pretty flowers in an aluminium disk

and think of what we want to let go of.

I watch my disk float down the Ganges River as the flowers catch fire

But as I watch the man dance

I’m not sure I understood the exercise

He moves with softness and grace

A smile illuminates his face

And I watch his whole body move


As if to let go

In India, I feel full but empty at the same time.

I am energised by depleted

I am wise but stupid

In India, I finally understand

Why people travel

Why people don’t want to leave India

Why people want to leave India

Why people employ phrases such as


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