A Hobbit Goes to India
Basically, I am a hobbit. I love my little house with its cozy rooms filled with books and blankets. I love my breakfast and my second breakfast of tea and chocolate. I love to listen to soft music while I stare out the window over my desk waiting for my characters to say something. But, every once-in-a-while, as I’m sure you know, a hobbit is called to journey. I spent a year preparing for my trip by doing challenging things such as moving my yoga mat to other locations around the studio for my practice and making the occasional leftt hand turn while driving. It’s okay if you are laughing at this; I am laughing too! As my departure date approached I became less sure I wanted to go. Having spent a lifetime with myself I had predicted this fear and remedied it by telling EVERYONE who I spent any time with at all, from grocery store clerks to strangers on the train (see previous post) that I was going to India. It would have been quite shameful to back out, as well as expensive, and I had wanted to go for decades. All I had to do was get on the plane, make two transfers, and find the stranger waiting for me at the airport who would take me to the ashram guest house. After that I would be traveling with a group and I was sure everything would be fine. It may come as no surprise that I am a little afraid of flying and a little more afraid of flying over the ocean. But, after a six hour layover in New Jersey, I was really just too tired to get worked up about the lightning and thunder storm we passed through as we flew over the Atlantic. I was, however, distressed that I had to run through the terminal in Zurich to catch my connection and could not stop to buy any Swiss Chocolate. Going through customs in Mumbai was unpleasant as I did not know I was supposed to save my boarding pass and the customs agent was not very nice to me. But, as you know, I got through customs, found my luggage and the stranger waiting with my name on a sign. Before I left for India a friend who had been there, told me the first thing I would notice was the smell, and she was right. Nag Champa incense and smoke and mustard leaves, I think; an aroma much more assertive than its initial musky notes. By the time I made my return trip home I felt like I emitted the scent from my pores. “I have a henna tattoo on my arm and I smell weird,” I warned my husband. After the long flight and almost a month away I was eager to shower and soap off the cloying aroma. I have a lot to say about my time in India. More than I can possibly cover in one post. I’m not even sure how much I want to share because, besides being a hobbit, I am a storyteller and sometimes the best fiction comes from what can’t be said of real life. I will say that, having been called, I thought the reason would become obvious while I was there; it didn’t, and that was somewhat disappointing to me. Initially. But I have been home for a month now and sometimes I smell the faint perfume of India and when that happens I stop whatever I am doing to close my eyes and take a deep inhale.