I suppose I cheated, a bit, by just posting a link to an album and not actually writing at all.
My friend Rach asked me, a few days after I got home, if I’d had any culture shock, and aside from joking about the cold here, I couldn’t really say yes. India was a sensory overload, though, in every possible way, and I was in intake mode for the month that I was there – trying food, taking pictures, reading museum blurbs and wikipedia articles, studying maps. It’s only since coming back that I’ve started figuring it all out, processing and turning it all into some kind of output, and since I don’t want to be that girl who goes to a developing country and talks about how much she and her view of the world has changed (oh, the growth, the reflection, the profundity!) – I figured I could dump here, without too much fear of boring people. If you don’t want to read, don’t.
There was a lot to this trip, a lot that I haven’t figured out yet and probably won’t and some of which I don’t necessarily want to put a name to. I think some things are better left unanalyzed, and I generally run the risk of overanalyzing. I’d also like to do this in snippets – new year, new term, fresh start, maybe more writing?
I was unpacking on Saturday, settling into dorm life again, made it to an empty suitcase for the first time since November. I’d worn the top layers of clothing at home, but the bottom layers were crushed and crumpled, a few light kurtas and summery scarves I’d brought to Bombay. The bottom half of the suitcase smelled like India, just like it did the second I walked off the plane in Delhi, just like it did when I arrived back in Boston and my sister said I smelled like India – a kind of dusty, spicy, incense-y, “herbal-y” (to quote another friend) smell that is impossible to recreate but is always the most familiar part of visiting.
I emptied out all the clothes and books, but I’ve zipped up the suitcase and left it under my bed – just in case I need a whiff of something familiar, in between the conversations and emails and research into an unknown next year.