After one week in Cambodia, I decided to return to South Africa by way of India.
I returned to India just in time for Holi in Delhi, which was hectic!!! I think everyone should experience Holi at least once in their lives 🙂
On the Saturday after Holi, I flew from Delhi to Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), where I met up with Dhroov Rajpal, an awesome friend and talented BMXer I’d met during HolyDetour back in February 2018. He showed me around town on his scooter and introduced me to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), which is a home to the skateboarding and BMX communities of Mumbai. There, I’d spend afternoons skateboarding with 14-year-old Shruti, skating with homies from Mumbai’s Meteoric Crew, and pushing myself to learn new tricks.
After an awesome week in Maharastra, I took an overnight bus to Panjim, Goa, a former Portuguese colony that known for its laid-back atmosphere, awesome beaches, and colourful architecture. There, I met Anveer and Zhen, learned about Project Wild Women and Inspire Crew, skated with Anveer and loads of youth (many of whom were girls!) during an afternoon session at the DIY on the beach, going on skate and slacklining missions with a squad of Indians and internationals, meeting up with Júlia (who I met at Joey’s hostel in Delhi when I first arrived in India in January), almost getting in a motorcycle accident (I’m not kidding, you’ve gotta stay vigilant on these Indian roads!)…
Goa was such a dream, and during the long overnight bus to Bangalore to catch my flight back to South Africa, I cried the entire time because of how happy I was to have come to India but also because of how devastated sad to leave my life here behind…
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
This is an excerpt from a longer essay I wrote after reading an article called The Moral Bucket List:
The most profound and perhaps the most heartbreaking lesson I’ve learned in India is that of impermanence. With this awareness that everything is transient comes a deep sadness that life is like sand, constantly slipping away into the sea. I want to savor the moments but find myself gulping them out of desperation to hold onto them forever. This unwillingness to accept transience and practice a healthy detachment from things has caused a lot of unrest in my spirit.
This article comes at a time of a difficult transition – my last day in India, a country that broke my heart wide open. It is here that I finally understood why my life guiding question hasn’t been “what do you want to do?” but rather “who do you want to be?” My hope is that by forcing me to confront my own “sins” – impatience, indecision, lack of humility, and insecurity – this experience of suffering is guiding me towards a me that is healthier, more dynamic, and fully alive.
Thank you, India, for your colours, for the tears of frustration and healing and catharsis, for your contrasts, for your indifference, for your smells and sights and sounds, for teaching me to love my belly, for introducing me to different worlds, for pushing me past my limits…