Right before I moved to Ireland, I took a trip to revisit India, where I had once spent three months railhopping after quitting my first job out of college. Far less boring.
Those three months were where I made the biggest changes in how I’d live: once a child of immigrants bred to think life was about making your way up in society, I was no longer worried about status, or “getting ahead,” and I veered.
India is layered with so many kinds of ways of living, there’s no way to avoid noticing options.
Once, I got a terrible stomach infection in a tiny hotel in Bombay. This is a journal entry from then:
October 9, 2000
The Bombay trains are a decidedly more courageous set of railway vehicles than any other I’ve come across until now. You have to be able to accept open doorways and be able to leap onto and out of those compartments at stations like Bombay Central and Churchgate. I feel the humidity squelch all my energy and taste the sea on my lips, dirty and kitsch as far as I can see. Human waste on the beach at Chowpati, and now my stomach’s turned.
My hunger has left me, along with my good health, and I’m covered in a shawl with my head covered, Goan style.
I bought a rose, a near-red, light pink all inside it, for myself and for Y., to celebrate his enjoying the new apartment and the whole of Ireland. I’m looking forward to joining him come December.