I’ve left India. Like a marriage that has been teetering on the edge, of having lost it’s magic and being simply not interested, I’d struggled these past couple of years, of hanging on to memories, to alliances, to friendships that seem to be old and stale. It was like having a partner that you couldn’t bear they way they ate their toast in the morning, of having their mouth open while chewing fastidiously, while they liked their toast too burnt or not cooked enough, and you simply can’t stand toast.
For the past 14 years, I have made India my home. I have a drivers’ licence, submit tax returns, have a citizen card, a director of an Indian company etc. I was part of it all and it was part of me. I identified with it, warts and all. Looking back I feel as 2015 things changed. I had this creeping feeling that all was not well with me and India. The things that I had turned a blind eye too were still there and starting to glare at me, and made me feel uncomfortable. I started to think about how it seemed to have a lack of care for its citizens through the inability to provide the basics of clean water, clean air (particularly in Delhi) and particularly a clean environment. Rubbish mounting up in the streets started to have a big effect on me. Constant media reports about domestic violence, honour killings and rapes also started to have an effect.
According to Wikipedia an honour killing or shame killing is the murder of a member of a family, due to the perpetrators’ (usually a family member) belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonor upon the family, or has violated the principles of a community or a religion, usually for reasons such as refusing to enter an arranged marriage, being in a relationship that is disapproved by their family, having sex outside marriage, becoming the victim of rape, dressing in ways which are deemed inappropriate, engaging in non-heterosexual relations or renouncing a faith. In India it is mostly being in relationships that the family don’t approve of.
In retrospect, those things had always been there and I had survived happily so what had changed? On the outside I had it all, I had made it in India, living in a lovely big house, staff to work in my office and my house, in theory I didn’t have to do much on a day to day level except work, but if you looked closely inside I was isolated and lonely. In my studies of Buddhism, I have learnt that we are only looking outside and not paying attention to how we are running our daily life on the inside. I thought I was.
Our minds play tricks on us depending on what is happening at the time. I had originally came to India and thought I’d spend a few years to teach English to Tibetan Refugees but that was way back when. I had in fact, I only taught for a short time before becoming involved with a local (desi) Indian and before too long I had invested my hard earned cash into his hotel, shared his bed, made a restaurant so that I could fulfill a dream, set up a tour business and life was looking good. However, there is a good old saying that fools and their money are easily parted. Guessing which one was the fool is an easy one. After 5 long years of daily dramas, I felt I was destined to live the life of being punch drunk, looming from one crisis to another. Once I realized this was part of Indian life (after you only watch TV dramas to know this what feeds the viewers), I was wanting a quieter, less dramatic existence.
I had left Australia in 2001 looking for who I really was and what was my purpose in this life. Burning questions which didn’t seem to have answers to being locked up in an office job, having a comfy house in the suburbs, friends and family around but I knew there was more that I wanted out of life. I didn’t think being a proprietor of an Indian hotel was one of them.
I had also began to study Buddhism Having lost my mother through cancer in 1990 when she was 55, I know there were so many unanswered questions and the questions weren’t going to be found in my comfortable lifestyle…didn’t I need a challenge. I knew the answers were out there in my life, ones that I didn’t have but wanted to find them.
So I left with the idea of being away for 5 years, looking and finding what I wanted out of life, so here 16 and half years later, many lifetimes of experiences under my belt (experiences which I envisage I will tell over the years), I have come full circle, not far from where I started but happier and more fulfilled and hopefully with the ability to look more inwards and instead of outwards. If I have achieved that then my time away will have been well spent. However, my journey of life continues.