Reconstituting my Self

A roadside Kali altar in Kolkata

A roadside Kali altar in Kolkata

There’s many a thing that can – and has – been said about India. I’ve written a few of those things myself.

India’s a large, vibrant and confronting country to spend time in, but lately I’ve begun thinking of Her as a seamstress who ripped out my existing seams and has been cutting, re-shaping and sewing me into something else. I’m still made of the same fabric of course, just differently shaped and styled and put back together.

Okay… I kinda still feel like I’m in the process of being put back together.

Which is why my India stories have been coming out so slowly: I feel very much that I’m still getting used to my new post-India condition.

Sometimes my stitches have felt too tight and sometimes I’ve wondered why on earth I went to the Seamstress in the first place if I wasn’t intending on coming out with a brand new garment…

The first month of my return was about recovering from being nightmarishly sick as I left India. I also found myself commencing kinesiology studies (yay! and more on that another time), but mostly I was just getting used to looking at this new version of myself in the mirror.

The second month has been…complicated.

I’m still looking for a day job (hello employers of digital media types!) and I’ve yet to establish any new yoga classes despite several inquiries from would-be students.

While shock from the changes Seamstress India has wrought on my soul is wearing off, I’ve been taking a bit of a closer look and actually feel as though She hasn’t finished her work yet.

So I’m putting myself back together, on a very intangible and metaphysical level.

See, there’s a few story lines from my time in India that are still playing out. None of it as I expected of course. And I find it tricky to write about such personal things when they’re not fully cooked yet.

But before I sound too airy-fairy and off with the cosmic pixies, let me tell you how very surprised I am to be writing this post at all. So many people returning from India have similar-ish sounding tales with suspiciously “woo woo” descriptions… kind of like what I’ve just been writing. But I didn’t think I’d be one of them.

At first I simply thought I’d had an interesting time in India with a bunch of exceptional and memorable moments. I got back home and was all hey… let’s get on with life!

I sure didn’t think I’d be expressing such in-expressible concepts as I’m attempting in this post…

Today especially – almost two months after getting home – everything has kind of fallen apart rather spectacularly.

But how, exactly? Well, that’s TBD.

Physically I’m in excellent health. I’ve no lingering parasites, weakness or infections. I’m doing plenty of interesting things – yoga, kinesiology studies, writing projects, seeing friends and family, learning how to play my harmonium (so much fun!) and so on.

My new harmonium! I think I will call her Kashi.

My new harmonium! I think I will call her Kashi.

And yet… I still feel somewhat undone. As though part of my soul never really left India.

Then there’s this: things I’ve seen, done, experienced, breathed in and felt in a third world country with a considerably different culture and psychology… this can’t be undone/seen/felt/experienced.

Yeah I’ve been to other third world countries (Egypt, Bali, very poor areas of Chile) but none of them got to me quite like this.

Every waking moment is now imbued with the distinct otherness of India. The extreme poverty; brash colours; overwhelming misogyny; tout-a-palooza; gorgeous landscapes; shouty-grabby madness; wildness; awesome architecture; impatience and pot holes; endless numbers of roaming cows and monkeys; juicy spiritual experiences and everything else that makes India wonderful and shocking and confronting and appalling… all of that is now with me All The Time.

I guess Ma India got under my skin and I’m not quite sure what that means.

So forgive my India story tardiness… they’re coming, really. I just need a little more time to let the merry-go-round slow down a little more, so I can jump off without falling flat on my face.

Once everything starts looking a little clearer, I’ll be on the job. Promise.

~ Amanda

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5 thoughts on “Reconstituting my Self

  1. Interesting observations. This is my first time in India and, after five months, part of me is planning my departure while the other is already planning my return. I think India has that effect on you! Part of you gets a bit worn down by the constant stomach upsets, the battling with extreme temperatures and the absence of home comforts that you have previously taken for granted. But at the same time you know that you’ll miss so much of India once you return home. I have a feeling I will be following in your footsteps and thought patterns!

  2. *nods*
    Yeah I fell apart after I got home from India. In some ways the fact I had to come back and get straight on with my normal life (back to work at the law firm within days) really helped but in other ways it delayed the unravelling for sometime so when it did come it was a bit of a shock.
    That was the second time. The first time I went to India I was too young to do anything except be all OMGZ India, henna myself everywhere, shave my head and get violently ill on Indian whiskey. That’s another less woo-woo tale though.. ;)

  3. Linda-Sama

    Shit a Krazy Old Yogini says:

    “India has her hooks in me like an old lover — an old lover who you’ve told yourself that you never want to be with again but who keeps re-appearing like a hungry ghost tapping on your shoulder, and no matter how fast you run you can never escape him because he is a part of you forever. You know this and you hate it but you love it all at the same time.”

    India nourishes my heart and feeds my soul and I need to visit Ma India as much as I need the air to live. ….if I don’t follow my Heart, I will lose a piece of my aliveness. It doesn’t take too many compromises to become a walking dead person…”

    you know that person? ;)

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