Sunday, June 27, 2010
It is Sunday morning and we are doing art surrounded by the sounds of India after having eaten our curry, chutney and dosas for breakfast. There is always a period of adjustment after travel from one culture to the next (the sounds, smells, tastes, weather, customs, etc.); jet lag always seems more difficult when the culture is drastically different than one's own comfort zone. And travel seems to strip away any semblance of structure and self as you are put in lines for ticketing, customs, passport control, bustled onto a bus and loaded into a plane where there is no personal space and you become well acquainted with your seatmates, then dropped off into a foreign country to transfer planes and search about for food, bathrooms, a place to sit and your next gate--but isn't that the joy of travel, the unknown, the shattering of regularity to explore something new? So, this morning our patterns--making tea and doing art--seem to ground us as we adjust to our new environment and possibly our new selves (?) as we sit here in our salwar khamezes (tunics and loose pants) surrounded by the sounds of India.
The first day in Chennai, after 20+ hours getting here and arriving at 4am, is tough. Staying up through the day in order to get a regular night's sleep creates a surrealistic experience of life as it swirls around us. Time flows in slow motion, and decisionmaking becomes excruciatingly difficult.
Our drama for our first day was monsoon rains. I've been through typhoons before, and that's what this looked like to me. The sky grew dark and greenish and then snarling, raging wind whipped the trees around as if they were trunkless; the rain poured from all directions. It lasted for maybe an hour and then just rained for a little while. It's sunny and wickedly humid this morning, with only puddles to show that it even rained.