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15 August 2007

happy independence day, Ma India



Today is India's Independence Day. Sixty years ago today the world's largest democracy was born. This video is a performance of India's national song.

I have only been to India twice and will return to south India in January 2008 for my third trip. It's been said that if one is tired of India, one is tired of life.

Good, bad, or indifferent, I love India. When my foot first hit Indian soil, I felt like I had come home. I stepped out of the Chennai airport at about 2 AM, stopping for a few moments to take everything in, just as an animal does when you open the door for its escape -- it stops and sniffs the air and you can see its nostrils flare, and the eyes trying to take everything in at once, and you can see the hair rise almost imperceptibly on its neck, before it bounds away, never to look back. I felt free and powerful and alive. That night was my independence day.

There is not a day that goes by since I returned from my first trip that I do not think about India, the people I met there, the experiences I've had. My fourth and fifth trips are seeds in my mind's garden, waiting to sprout -- Rajasthan, then the Kumbh Mela. I travel to India alone, a solo female traveler of a certain age, which is just the way I like it.

Home is where the heart is, and my heart is in India.

3 comments:

Tracy said...

you and me both! india is my true home..and i wish i could live there full time! one day i will~

Sierra said...

Last winter I needed to get out of a dreary Minnesota winter. I could feel seasonal affective disorder creeping over me. I had vacation time and money, but no travel partner. After wrestling with the idea for awhile, I decided to go to the Big Island of Hawaii by myself (stayed at a cool place called Kalani--Google it!). I had never traveled so far by myself before and it was alternately scary and exhilarating. To think of traveling alone to India absolutely floors me! Would you write more about that experience? I'm hesitant to go there even with a group--lots of fears come up
(bandits, stress, disease, being emotionally overwhelmed by the poverty), yet, as a 25-year yoga practitioner, India also calls to me. I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on a woman traveling alone...

Sierra
P.S. I'm the one who recommended your blog to Beliefnet; it was great to see they liked it, too!

Linda (Sama) said...

Sierra, thank you for reading my blog!

If you want to read more about my Indian adventures and how I got to India in the first place, please go back to the beginning of this blog in 2005. the meaty stuff about India starts in January this year...

and if you really want to go to India, please log on to http://www.indiamike.com, the ONLY travel site you'll ever need for India. Lots of stuff there about solo women traveling alone, first-time India experiences, etc.

enjoy!