Whilst travelling for so many years across India I always felt a very real sense of peace, I felt that India was the correct place for me to be and that though some periods of my life may have been way out of control and were the consequence of hard work, heavy drinking, drug use and mixing with some seriously dodgy people, everything in my life up to that point seemed to have conspired in my favour and had brought me to an unexpectedly stunning period of living.
Even though I might only be briefly passing through the organised chaos of a vibrant mega-city, where on an hourly basis and whilst not in the confines of cheep spartan rooms, over time I had learned to dodge the wing mirrors of auto-rickshaws erratically driven by skinny mad men and I had acquired the skill of avoiding the dangerous horns of oncoming bovine traffic and I jostled, shoulder to shoulder like a local, with the hurried hoards who had to compete for every spare inch of space, in this mayhem and in India I always felt a true sense of home.
I was also equally at home whilst relaxing and living for weeks at a time breathing fresh mountain air in quiet Himalayan community’s, completely understanding why my Great Grandfather chose to build a cottage retreat in the hills of the Deccan plateau where he could escape the summer heat of Bangalore.
Whilst I was being rocked from side to side sitting next to an open window aboard a steady moving train, the hot dusty breeze drying taught skin on my always sun tanned face I honestly believed that I belonged to that specific moment in place and time, inextricably connected to a country and to family members who were born and who had lived their entire lives in India many decades before but had long since passed away.
Stories had been expertly woven together over the course of so many years using our family’s cherished oral history and our much loved family photograph albums and were recounted to me with a great passion by my Grandpa that I felt I was able to take refuge with family spirits of the past and prepare myself for an increasingly uncertain future.