Colourful India

Ahhh India…from the moment I stepped off the plane in Delhi it hit me. Not the smog or the chaos or the noise or the hoards of people (that’s a given anyway…); it was the colours. The vibrant hues of life, both glorious and messy at the same time. Once you get past the initial shock and awe and start to settle in to your surroundings, you can let go, open up your eyes and your heart, and fully embrace the experience. That is why I am here, not to shy away from life but to live it, as a guest in this faraway place. As I walked through the airport to find my driver, I spotted this amazing sculpture of Surya Namaskara – twelve beautiful bodies in each pose of a sun salutation.

It was the perfect “welcome to India” for me and a reminder how daily devotion, whether it is through yoga asana or meditation or prayer, is such a central part of life here.

Flew to Chennai and on the road – now life gets really colourful! Manoeuvring through the streets of life in India requires skill, focus, strategy, and a lot of horn honking. No matter what town or village, the scene is the same! Chaotic yet strangely orderly, it seems to work.

Eventually we made it to the ocean and Marina Beach in Chennai. This huge expanse of beach was filled with people celebrating a holiday just the day before. It was hard to imagine just how many people were here…

At the end of the beach used to be a slum. We were told that the government cleaned it up and built proper housing for the residents. More apartments were in the process of being erected and it filled me with such hope for those in such hard circumstances.

Literally right across from the ocean, these new residences could have easily been worth millions in a western city. Instead they were given to underprivileged people to improve their way of life. Many of these residents were fishermen and their families. Daily the men went out to fish and the women sold the fresh catch on the side of the road. What didn’t sell would be dried in the sun and preserved and sold later. A small makeshift shrine was in the process of being assembled by a few women; a shrine for prayers of protection, safe voyage, and prosperity…Don’t we all just want the same?

It’s hard not to be bothered by this in-your-face reality of hardship. But we are all born into different places in this world so we must do what we need to do and if able, help our fellow humans in whatever way we can. As I climbed aboard our air conditioned bus, I silently sent wishes and blessings for peace and ease to this neighbourhood. I trust it was received.

We drove on to our own new home for a couple of days beside the Bay of Bengal at a beautiful resort filled with palm trees and birds and fragrant smells. A very different colour of life…

Time to welcome another day of exploration. It’s still dark out but I can hear the fishing boats off in the distance as they embark on another hopeful journey. Today we discover Mahabalipuram! More to come…

Namaste…or as they say in Tamil, “Vanakkam” 🙏🙏🙏

Anne

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