Thursday, April 15, 2010

my first moments in India... journal excerpt 09.24.1999

Many years later, I now realize how completely auspicious my first day in India was 11 year ago.


I made it safely woo hoo!! I inhaled and felt something familiar.. The smells, the sights, wow! I'm on sensory overload. The men wear these drab tan and gray clothes and then a woman will walk by with the most beautiful sari. Really the colors are so fantastic, they glow on their beautiful dark skin.

Arrived at the airport everything went extremely smoothly. I shared a taxi with some other travellers. The 30 minute ride to Colaba was full of sights... My first observations were the poverty, the pollution, dirt, and these beautiful women.

I took a nap at the YWCA (my guesthouse for the first few nights) and went out to get some food. The first thing I ate in India was a masala dosa...I met some other travellers and wandered around with them trying to look for the market with clothing. So, we walked and walked. Finally, we made it to where we wanted to be and all the shops were closed. Oh well. So we walked some more and came across these people splattered with hot pink powder and the streets were covered with it as well. We followed the trail of pink and eventually came upon a celebration for Ganesha (the elephant looking God) There was a huge parade and people were dancing and singing and playing the drums. The procession lead down to the Sea where they put thelarge statues of Ganesh. I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY PEOPLE IN MY LIFE!! Today was the last day of a 10 day festival celebrating Ganesh and it was amazing.

It was a spectacular first day in India. I made it back to my hotel room. Life is good, it's time to sleep.

It turned out to be Ganesh Chaturthi, the Hindu festival for Ganesha, the elephant God of new beginnings, he removes obstacles and is worshiped at the start of many things. For instance, at the beginning of your work day or the beginning of a new business. For me, I did not know any of this at the time. I actually knew almost nothing about India, but somehow I landed in Mumbai on that auspicious day. The day that changed my life forever, my first day in India. The last day of the festival and the most festive of them all, the large statue of Ganesha is paraded through the streets along with dancing and singing. It is then submerged in the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his home in Kailash while taking with him the misfortunes of his devotees.

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