When Kim had told her friends back home about the tour, everyone was excited. “Wow! India! You’ll have incredible adventures! It has the most powerful spiritual energy. They say you go to India and come back changed.”
She’d responded with vague remarks; Kim was a reluctant pilgrim. She didn’t trust people who talked about India as a portal to enlightenment.
But Goa was too Western for her tastes after all. After ten days on the beach, she hungered for the real India… whatever that was. She wouldn’t experience more than a small chunk of the subcontinent. What did she expect, beach parties or yoga in ashrams? Goat curry, or moguls and the Taj Mahal? Ayurveda medicine, or Kashmir shawls? Nonviolent resistance, or gang rape and murder on a public bus? Castes and slums and hovels, or India’s headlong advances as a BRIC nation?
There was surely more than the mutilated saint of Goa’s Catholicism. “There are as many religions as there are people on the planet,” Gandhi had said. India was Hindu and as easily Muslim and Buddhist and Zoroastrian and Christian and Jain and Sikh and Baha’i and….
And, Kim reminded herself, India’s a mirror. Travelers who expect poverty and squalor find both in spades. Visitors seeking enlightenment find that, too. What am I here for? If I stay open minded, what’ll I find? She chewed the tip of her pen. Goa was Portuguese, she considered writing, and gorgeous ocean views, the rave scene and meals eaten in beach shacks. Every sentence sounded like factoids from a travelogue.
Kim put away her postcards unfinished.
© Jadi Campbell 2016. From Grounded. Go to following link to order my books: https://www.amazon.com/author/jadicampbell
NOTES: Go to my earlier posts The Erotic Architecture of Khajuraho, Travel Karma, and Remind Me Again: What Are We Doing Here? to read about our visits to India. Photo Copyright © 2014 Uwe Hartmann. All photographs can be enlarged by simply clicking on the image. More pictures from India and of Uwe’s photography may be viewed at viewpics.de.
5 thoughts on “The Reluctant Pilgrim”
This is wonderful, especially as I was changed by India. I would go back in a heart beat. Don not so much.
Waiting for more.
Uwe and I had the same experience: I was thrilled to the bone by India, while Uwe was too shocked by the general indifference to the suffering. I’d go back in a heartbeat, though.
Hi Jadi — hope this finds you well. For what it’s worth, wanted you to know how well your site reads on a mobile phone, as some WP designs don’t read well, but yours especially does, which is appreciated by people with me whose eyes are starting to go. Hope you and Uwe are well and see you this summer. Bill
Hey Bill, enjoying following your blog reports about your reentry into all things American (but can you do something about Trump?) I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how good my site looks on a teeny phone too!