Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dear Delhi... terrify me.. and you have me so uncomfortably hooked that I actually feel comfortable. You were the last place on my bucket list because I knew I would never be native enough to survive, and still God had you be the first. Even in my obvious foreign skin I wanted to stay. I shake my fist at the jet lag and puny human mind that kept me from feeling the full emotion of meeting you in person for the first time. I kept expecting to be overwhelmed. But even after losing our luggage I knew I wouldn't feel discouraged or under water. Melt downs happen when you carry the delusion that you own some control and come to find, either in the failure of the last straw or the end of a vain pursuit, that you aren't in the pilot seat at all. Never was I under the delusion that I had influence over your inevitable. You have that kind of raw unnerving quality that my person craves but lives in fear of. And here you were. Waking at dawn under the polluted clouds that separated you from the glimpse of clear sky and me, who was breathing, thinking, and asking God if this was really it.

I was going to land in India and dear God, I hoped this would not be the only time. I was going to land in Delhi and dear God, I hoped it wouldn't beat me. There was no song that would do, save one. And to its battle cry I sat thinking... trying to react. Not for sleep deprivation, not for the grasp of the concept of this magnitude, but by the grace of God for the acute awareness of who I wasn't, who God was, and what this meant... for me, for us, for dreams... yeah... I guess I cried a little.

So Delhi, what did I think? People keep asking me if India was everything I was expecting. I expected that that day of the 26th would be just like any regular day to you. I expected an airport, customs, no smooth sailing and the formality of a culture that does not need you to like them. You were you. And I liked you for it. But still you terrified me. Your smog blanketed air, the painless ability to stare directly into the sun, your formula or lack of formula for city function and above all the absolute impossibility to make heads or tails of any of it because of my lack of experience of learning from you was above all, the most maddening of your realities. From the minute we left that airport I knew that coming for so short a time to the country as a whole was already going to feel like a big mistake.

Photo credit: Jenny B

"What? Ha! I've, I've never admitted to a mistake!..... I've made a huge mistake."
-Gob Bluth

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