The evolution of emotions on the last few days of a trip typically follows the same pattern. It starts of with excitement, following onto the planning stage, then as the flight date moves ever closer, melancholy sets in and finally weariness. The last stage can lead to some rash decisions being made and in these cases, expensive decisions (for which I am far too sensible to do).
It's hard to separate oneself from these emotions and tap into the endless inspiration that they can give to the writer. These emotions are a literary fountain but the plug is often sealed and the writer, weighed down with weariness does not having the strength to pull. I don't have the strength to pull even though this time I told myself it would be different. Alas all I have left is a trickle from this fountain.
I have survived India, pretty much unscathed. I have no terrible stories to tell but hell do I have some exciting ones. I said once that India confused me into silence, that was at the beginning of the trip, the beginning of a journey. This has been a journey of discovery more than of the usual sort; discovering not only my ancestral past, but my own past, answering questions I have had since childhood. And in this respect India does not disappoint. Yet it is not India that has done the work. India is, just as a mountain is. The beauty in the poetry etched out from mountaineers has come from within, squeezed out by their experiences and hardships on the mountain and that is what India does to the traveller. I have expressed some of these profound moments in photos and texts, others remain tucked away in my diary but the vast majority remain within me, dissipating slowly into the ether with time.
Now as I sit in Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and my laptop battery slowly dies I bid farewell to India and prepare to be transported into a different dimension and time. I hope some of the lessons I have learnt stay with me. Tolerance. Patience. Impermanence.