India is a love-hate relationship: every moment is a mix of admiration and discontent, satisfaction and frustration. Point in case: I am writing this article on the toilet in the middle of the night. This is the second of four TKS articles I’ve written in this position after being woken by the grumbles of my bowels. I love free things, but I am not a fan of India’s sanitation reinforcement. I need to grow more skeptical of restaurant water.
By mid-October, my relationship with India was more aversion than enjoyment, and my longing for the comfort and security of the United States was overwhelming. All I wanted was to wear cotton shorts, bask in the assurance of the bathroom being stocked with toilet paper and eat some melted cheese. In one afternoon, I was nearly attacked by a dog and watched a man without a helmet skid off his motorcycle. India radiates chaos and false security, sorrow and breathtaking beauty. It is hard to watch, but ever harder to look away.
As my trip progresses, I realize I have built myself a little nest of Indian comforts. A cozy afternoon now consists of sweet, milky coffee and uttappa for lunch, followed by dancing seductively to Bollywood music. Suddenly, I find myself settled here in Pune. Watching a Hindi movie, I laughed when I noticed how adapted to Indian culture I have become. Taking a rickshaw to school each day? Obviously. Forget a tea break in the morning? Preposterous.
It is getting to the point in the trip where we are asking each other, “Do you think you’ll come back?” None of us really knows, but we mull over the possibility, unsure of the answer. Although I have no idea as to whether life will lead me back, I know without a doubt that I will miss this country. The United States pales in contrast to India’s food, its colors, its drama that overwhelms the visitors. Forever will I be connected to the enchanting, terrifying, humbling subcontinent of India.