Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ode to a Friction-ful Life and a Reawakening of the Senses

[Craig and I just got back from our trip to India. During our 11 day trip we covered Mumbai, Chennai, and parts of Kerala. Rather than try and post a slew of pictures all at once, I'm going to post them according to themes...mindless musings, I guess.]

The first morning I woke up in Thane (a suburb of Mumbai, but a city by any other standard) after having spent the previous day soaking in the city, I immediately felt like I was in New York again listening to the buzz of traffic outside our window and hearing the shouts of familiar neighbors to one another. It was comforting. But wait! How could this be? They're so completely different!

It's because of the friction. Everyday in either city you are crowded onto a train, bumping into people, feeling the wind of cars whizzing within inches of you. It's great. It made me think of the stark contrast this serves to other places (which will remain nameless) that are filled with double paned windows, drive-thru eateries, and reserved seating. When friction is taken away from your life, you feel numb. You don't remember what it's like to feel another persons arm pressed against yours as you both brace yourselves on a speeding bus. You escape to places where it's OK to look away and you forget about the world around you. How can this be a better quality of life?

Friction can radiate and so people are affected by everything around them. So, naturally, they care what happens. One of the most fascinating things we observed in India is that if there is a conflict or a commotion, a group will form -- not a group of spectators, but a group of participants. In most of the world, life has become a spectator sport when what we really need more of are participants. Participants willing to engage in the world around them. Who get pissed at people when they're acting like crap or laugh with them when they're being silly. And best of all, when you become aware you awaken your senses.

Bustling traffic, honking horns, and near collisions help to snap you right into the reality of a friction-ful world :)

And a perfect follow-up...a commuter train in Mumbai. Next to this, the subways of New York seem so roomy and this was at 9pm! At around 6pm there are 3 people deep hanging out of the doors.

Walking around the temples barefoot with your skin against the hot rock, you realize how much feeling you miss when we rock our thick-soled shoes.

The poverty was all around. It was playing in the streets and it was sleeping on the sidewalk. The initial site of it made you aware of how much we have but soon you see past the poverty and you see smiling faces and realize how much of what we have is material. Quite a reality check.

The colors are everywhere and they are vibrant and when I look from this beautiful crumbling wall to my khaki pants, I realize how drab (seemingly) normal can be.

And foodies take note! You are not NOT a true foodie until you can feel and manipulate your food with your own digits.


wakako takagi said...

Hey audrey!
Welcome back. When I heard that you are taking off to India, I was so excited to get your updates. So right on:) Love the idea of posting as themes.

We're going to Peru from this Thursday to attend wedding and check out Macha Pichu!! Will bring lots of pictures and stories from there:)

robert said...

Hey Audrey-great job on not posting a million pics. You are getting the feeling of India across a lot more with your themes....I want to go back. Im still upset that craig drank the water and didnt get mud butt. Why do some people have all the luck?