India: holding both

Life. Death.

Me. Cherie, Renee, Valerie, Erin, Sarah, and Lisa Bonchek Adams (

Expectations on myself, to figure it all out, to be present, to open my heart wider, to love and be loved. Burning those expectations in a fire that grew so hot it shattered glass and crashed to the ground.

Pure white, spring, rebirth, new year. Every color of the rainbow on my body, on my friends, and in the air on Hindu Holi.

The infinite space of my mind. The choked alleyways, thick with smells of chai and trash and onion, sounds of praying and honking and pots clanging, saris billowing behind in a parade of patterns.

A billion individuals, all moving, weaving in and out of traffic obstacles on foot, camels, elephants, horses and carriages, auto rickshaws, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, juggling every imaginable object—gas tanks, carpets, children, goats, chairs. Together, working in unison, in a symbiosis, forming a living and pulsing organism.

Sacred cows, robed and beaded and revered. A market with raw flesh hanging haphazardly.

Children, charcoal-ringed eyes, learning, looking for approval and a smile, running and laughing and cheering on the cricket game. Working in the fields, hawking flowers, tending to siblings, washing clothes, cooking for the family.

Feeling full. Of curry, friendship, growth, commonalities across cancers and across language and place and religion. Solitary, the only one to make my own decisions.

Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. Awe-inspiring. The epitome of splendor, craftsmanship, and riches. Built out of love. It is a tomb, itself next to a Hindu crematorium. On a river awash with trash.

Am I happy? Am I sad? I am both.

This entry was posted in The story. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s