Today is India’s Independence Day. Sixty years ago today the world’s largest democracy was born. This video is a performance of India’s national song.
I have only been to India twice and will return to south India in January 2008 for my third trip. It’s been said that if one is tired of India, one is tired of life.
Good, bad, or indifferent, I love India. When my foot first hit Indian soil, I felt like I had come home. I stepped out of the Chennai airport at about 2 AM, stopping for a few moments to take everything in, just as an animal does when you open the door for its escape — it stops and sniffs the air and you can see its nostrils flare, and the eyes trying to take everything in at once, and you can see the hair rise almost imperceptibly on its neck, before it bounds away, never to look back. I felt free and powerful and alive. That night was my independence day.
There is not a day that goes by since I returned from my first trip that I do not think about India, the people I met there, the experiences I’ve had. My fourth and fifth trips are seeds in my mind’s garden, waiting to sprout — Rajasthan, then the Kumbh Mela. I travel to India alone, a solo female traveler of a certain age, which is just the way I like it.
Home is where the heart is, and my heart is in India.