These last days were pretty unplanned and moving for me. Although I live in Germany where I was born and where I lived my whole life there is some part of me that is connected to a country that is so different from my home that I can hardly believe it. Have you ever been to India? I’ve been a few times, but every time I traveled there it was a completely new experience. As a child, everything seemed to be so strange, so unknown and I felt really lost there, although one part of my family lives there. I even have more relatives in India than I have in Germany. But how can people whom I’ve only seen a few times in life be family? Who speak a language that I can’t even understand. I was frightened and overwhelmed. Didn’t know how to react to this situation. The Indian culture was so unknown to me, so different that I couldn’t find a clue. By the time the visits got less, and my second home was nothing more than a far memory of a place I didn’t understand. It would only take a few more years and the connection would break completely, a glimpse of childhood memories.
But then something changed. Out of a sudden an opportunity arises, one thing follows the other and I find myself standing at the airport ready to enter a flight to the other side of the world. But was I ready? Not at all. I had no idea what was waiting for me, what I could expect but I wanted to give myself a second chance, to see my roots with adult eyes and an open mind. But I was still a little frightened. Told my memories the truth? What will happen after 12 hours in a plane, flying on top of the clouds and seeing oceans and mountains passing by? Leaving everything familiar and well known.
I didn’t expect what happened after I left the plane at the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi. Damn, where were all these people coming from? You have never seen real traffic if you didn’t pass the streets of a 22 Million city in an Auto-Rickshaw. It seemed like all these Millions of People just decided to take the same street at the same time, here and right now. But somehow I found so much peace in this chaos, it calmed my mind I just trusted my driver that he will find his way through this mess and concentrated myself to see what was happening on the streets. I was happy that there where no doors in this vehicle so I could see everything surrounding me without a window to block my view. Everything was so loud, so crowded, so colorful and full of life. And surprisingly somehow familiar. I spend almost two weeks in India, travelling to different cities, seeing new faces and old ones. I always knew that I was missing a part of myself, but I didn’t expect to find it here. I found so much kindness, what is just not what you will get when you are talking to strangers in Germany. You might find respect, but always a professional distance and coolness. Not humanity. Don’t get me wrong, I like my home country and I know how to fit in here, I like that things just work, follow rules and are expectable but I didn’t know that it could also be different and – still work as well. Unplanned, but somehow everything finds it’s path. When everything follows its own rules, when there is no big system that rules above every single incident you might have to be creative. That doesn’t mean you have to be lost. But you have to trust that it will somehow work out. Not one of my usual mindsets. I got to know a new side of myself, one that is not always worried, just because nothing happened, as I would have expected. And what was surprising for me, I was no stranger. Nobody reacted to me as I was one and I didn’t feel like one. Trough this journey a deep interest for the brightness of this culture, somehow as well my culture, developed and I really wanted to learn more about it, see more and start to understand. I learned a lot in these few days. Not so much about an unknown country but about myself, about parts of myself that I didn’t understand yet and got to chance to take a look at.
And now one year later I find myself at the very same airport, on my way to start a new journey, but why? Just because I found that deep connection that was hidden for such a long time. That was hidden behind a thick wall of dust and memory. And I want to try to connect both parts of myself. That mysterious and creative one with the strict and well organized one. Because although some parts of yourself might have not shown up yet, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I didn’t find myself in India, but I found a connection to myself, maybe you could say an inner monologue that I wish to let grow. It just started but it’s for sure not the end.
Picture by Igor Ovsyannykov
Text by Verena