2015 India

Leaving my kids and husband for 8 days to fulfill the call of my heart.  I’ve been feeling pulled to Agra for a few months now, to visit  my 94 and 99 year old grandparents and live in the ancestral home. The home where I was practically raised. The home where I spent all my summers as a kid. This home has memories – mostly good, some not so good– but I don’t remember those…only the good ones. I know they’re all imprinted on my soul- and I know I’m coming home to unlayer the memories- to see with deeper eyes and to hear with quiet ears the whispers of my soul. My youth in this lifetime. What wants to be said? What am I to hear? What wants to emerge?
I left Los Angeles at 1:25pm on 9/22 and by the time I was picked up by my family on 9/23 at midnight it was 24hours of being on the road. India is 12 1/2 hours ahead. This visit is to do ‘do seva’ (be in service of) for myself and by extension for my grandparents. It’s a spiritual retreat of sorts; I’ve never lived here as an adult,  only as a child where we were expected out of respect for the family to attend the prayers meetings daily and work in the fields or whatever else was the flavor of the season. The religious commune where they live is self sufficient and the way people get to live in it is if they do service for the community. They grow their own crops, tend their own cows, have their own leather tanning, have a university accredited by the Delhi Board of Education. Little has changed here over the years. Progress is at a different pace here than the rest of the country and world. Life is a slower pace- as I remember it anyway. I’m looking forward to being unplugged and being able to spend my next few days in what feels like complete renewal.
19 hours of flight time and a total of 24 hours of time where although I’m around a world of people at airports both in LA and Hong Kong, I felt like it was the start of my quietude. I spent almost the entire flight in silence. I barely spoke 50 words the entire time. Apart from having to excuse myself every hour (14 hours in the middle seat with a small bladder, following the rule of 8oz water for every 1 hour of fly time made for a lot of bathroom visits) until I figured out how to hop over my seat mate without disturbing him…and then asking for water. (Hint: after security, buy a big 32oz water bottle) so you can then ask the flight attendant to fill it up so as not to bother them for water constantly.)
In Hong Kong I had to go through security and change terminals on a tube train to get to my gate for the last 5 hours of my journey. I had just about an hour to make the change. I made it just as they were lining up for final boarding! Hint: take a transit halt of at least 2-3 hours so that you can stretch legs, visit the bathroom, enjoy a meal from a different country and perhaps do a bit of duty free window shopping.