Out of Station (Away from Home)

It has now been nearly three months since I left for Kokata and it's been a wonderful turn thus far in India.  I'm returning to the beginning of my time here and starting off with this entry as the initiation to my life in India.  My time here thus far has been spent in travel and in upcoming chapters I'll get into the cultural regions and cities I've visited from Kerela in the south to Darjeeling in the north.  I will also touch on all of the inspirational aspects that brought me to India; Ayurveda, Holistic Health, Yoga, and, as I've mentioned at the end of this entry, Indian music.

     It began with the wrong exit off the highway, the wrong terminal, wrong direction on “the link”, and the wrong cue.  My Dad and I were obviously tired, and not paying enough attention.  Not that last night was crazy or anything, unless you think a rousing family game of Wizard is an over the top way to spend New Year’s Eve.

The woman waved me through the security scanner and looked down from my face to the charm of

 
 

Toxic Travel

It seemed only fitting that on Friday the 13th I was in the presence of such an extreme amount of toxic material that I could only be in a landfill or in India. Today we were traveling to Agartala, the capital of the Indian state of Tripura on the eastern side of Bangladesh.

Early morning we arrived at Gurujis and set out to find taxis. "He barely got it started, but we need a taxi and it's working now", was the comment from Justin as we piled into the rickety old taxi.  It was the worst taxi ride to date.  The exhaust, instead of retreating through some kind of exhaust system, was expelling into the cab of the vehicle.  Regulations on vehicles are loose and, especially in the case of these cabs, rarely followed.  The choking inhalation of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, mixed with the pooja incense burning on the front dash, made it nearly impossible to breathe. 

Kolkata is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.  The Grater Kolkata Area is approximately

 
 

Tradition in New Light


It was only a few short weeks after I arrived when I found myself at the airport again, this time to collect my Mum. Jonathan and I had already been hosting friends Chris and Laura and now we had seven people in and out of our two-bedroom apartment.  I had thoughts of how my Mum might react to this place but I didn't want to speculate too much.  As you may have suspected her first comment was about the filth, garbage, grime, and grit, but the awesome colours and delightful people quickly seconded that.  Our time in Kolkata was spent exploring our home.  A walk through the village south of the apartment resulted in photos of water buffalo, cow patties, and construction.  It is these things that I would like to discover with you as a source of resourcefulness and tradition.

Exploring the streets near my home I see brick walls built to surround small plots of land that are covered