Finding myself in India

Like I’ve said before, mostly everyone already had plans or either traveled around to different cities. Before this voyage, I was told to not travel alone, especially in India, being a woman. I get it, I am a woman, a tourist and i am in India, fine. But I seriously felt like that was my time to figure things out on my own.

Ambika, was an import student from Chennai, India, who joined us in Mauritius to teach us a little about her culture. Chennai is a little far from Kochi, however, she told me I was welcomed to stay at her house. She wrote her address and her phone in a piece of paper, and told me to go. She was already gone from Kochi since the first day.

I seriously thought that was my time. I did not want to let people’s experience become mine. That is why I booked an one-way ticket to Chennai, packed some stuff and just left on the second day; me, myself and I with a backpack almost empty in India. Mom and dad, do not freak out, I know that sounds a little crazy, but it was probably the best idea I ever had.
I mean, let’s not think about the fact that I do not speak the language and that I had no idea where I was going.

I got on a cab and said “airport”. Thank God, he understood me. The airport was around one hour away. When you travel alone, everything becomes much more magical. You notice everything around — the noise, the beauty, the ugliness, the unknown, the people — everything. Those times I really wish my eyes took pictures, because everything I looked, seemed like a painting.

I got to the airport, and it still did not hit me I was about to get on a flight to some city that I’ve never heard of before, with an address written on a piece of paper. I got on the plane, and I felt so good being alone. The person sitting next to me was sleeping, unfortunately, because I really wanted to talk to a local. I guess that day was a “keeping it all to myself” day, where I thought about a lot.

I thought about where I was, where I was going, my life, my feelings, who I am, and all that jazz. I have been feeling in peace with myself, and I believe that was one of the tasks I really wanted to reach while being on this voyage.

I got off the plane, with nothing but a paper in my hands, and walked out. I took a few seconds to digest where i was, and the chaos it looked outside. To put the icing on the cake, it was night time, and everything looked more scarier. The funny thing though, I was not scared. I felt so safe, and I felt like I was walking on top of the world.
I luckily saw a prepaid taxi place, which made me feel much more secure.
I gave them the piece of paper, paid for it, and got on a cab. According to Paul Theroux, “Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don’t know and trusting them with your life.” I would not be able to explain it better into words.

This trip has taught me there are bad people, and there are good ones, all over the world. However, a trip like this one, and being a tourist, there is a need to trust and follow your instincts. I have met so many amazing people along the way, and it was all because I have trusted them. I am not saying we should all just close our eyes and jump into someone’s arms we do not know without being cautions, that would be just too much lack of common sense; but if there is nothing we can do about it but to be alert, so let it be and enjoy.

There I was in a cab with a stranger driver in the city of Chennai, by myself. He did no speak any English, but was able to ask me if I had a phone few minutes after we took off (i knew that when we kept making phone shapes with his hands). Great, now I am lost with a taxi driver in the middle of Chennai, and we both had no clue how to communicate. Luckily, I had Ambika’s number, and he was nice enough to use his own phone to call her.

I got to her home safe after awhile, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. I was not alone for too long, but for the time that I was, I paid attention a lot to my surroundings and myself. I guess through those moments is how you realize who you truly are or who you are becoming. You gotta have courage to get out of that comfort zone.

Me encontrando na india

Como ja disse antes, praticamente todos ja tinham planos ou ja tinham viajado para cidades diferentes. Alertaram a gente para nunca viajar sozinho, especialmente na India, sendo uma mulher. Ja entendi, eu sou uma mulher, turista, na India, ta. Mas eu sinceramente senti que esse era o meu tempo para descobrir coisas novas sozinha.

Ambika, uma estudante da cidade de Chennai, India, nos acompanhou de Mauritius, para nos ensinar o pouco sobre a sua cultura. Chennai e um pouco longe de Kochi, mas, ela disse que estava mais que convidada para ficar na casa dela. Ela escreveu o seu endereco e telefone em um pedaco de papel, e me disse para encontrar ela la. Ela ja tinha ido embora desde o primeiro dia.

Eu sinceramente achei que era a minha hora. Eu nao queria que a experiencia de outras pessoas afetasse a minha. Por isso que eu comprei uma passagem para Chennai, arrumei as minhas coisas e fui embora no segundo dia; eu e eu mesma com uma mochila meio vazia nas costas. Pai e mae, nao se preocupem, eu sei que parece que foi loucura, mas foi provavelmente a melhor ideia que ja tive.
Nao vamos focar no fato que eu nao falo a lingua, e que eu nao tinha nem ideia para onde eu estava indo.

Entrei no taxi e disse, “aeroporto”. Gracas a Deus, ele me entendeu. O aeroporto era uma hora da cidade. Quando voce viaja sozinho, tudo parece mais magico. Voce comeca a perceber tudo ao seu redor — o barulho, a beleza, a feiura, o desconhecido, as pessoas — tudo. Sao nesses exatos momentos que eu queria que meus olhos tirassem fotos, porque tudo que eu olhava parecia uma quadro.

Cheguei no aeroporto, e ainda nao tinha caido a ficha que eu estava entrando em um voo para uma cidade que eu nao conhecia, e com um endereco em um pedaco de papel. Entrei no aviao, e me senti muito bem em estar sozinha. A pessoa sentada do meu lado estava dormindo, uma pena, porque eu queria muito conversar com um local. Acho que esse dia era um dia de reflexao, aonde eu pensei muito.

Pensei aonde eu estava, onde eu estou indo, minha vida, meus sentimentos, quem eu sou, e toda aquela coisa boa. Eu tenho me sentido em paz comigo mesma, e isso era um dos alvos que eu queria alcancar nessa viagem.

Sai do aviao, com apenas aquele papel, e fui a fora. Precisei de uns segundos para fazer a digestao de onde eu estava, e do chaos que estava la fora. Para completar, era a noite, o que faz tudo ficar mais sinistro. Engracado, que eu nao estava com medo. Me senti segura, e eu senti que estava andando em cima do mundo, literalmente.
Por sorte, vi um lugar de taxis, que me fez senti muita mais segura.
Dei o meu papel para ele, paguei, e fui. Diz o Paul Therous, “Em muitas viagens, especialmente aquelas enriquecedoras, envolve o depender da ajuda de estranhos, colocando voce mesmas nas maos de pessoas que voce nao conhece, e confiando neles com a sua vida.” Eu nao poderia ter explicado melhor em palavras.

Essa navegacao ja me ensinou que tem gente ruim e boa, e e assim no mundo inteiro. Mas, em uma viagem como essa, e ainda sendo um turista, existe uma certa necessidade de confiar e seguir os seus instintos. Eu tenho conhecido muitas pessoas maravilhosas nessa caminhada, e tudo porque eu acreditei nelas. Nao estou dizendo que temos que fechar os olhos e pular nos bracos de alguem que nao conhecos sem atencao, isso seria um absurdo da falta de senso; mas, se nao temos muito o que fazer alem de ficar alertos, deixe ser e se divirta.

Ali estava, em um taxi com um taxista no meio de Chennai. Ele nao falava Ingles, mas depois de um tempo me perguntou se eu tava com telefone (entendi porque fez varias mimicas com as maos ate as orelhas). Otimo, agora estavamos perdidos no meio de Chennai, e nao tinhamos nem ideia de como nos comunicar. Por sorte, eu tinha o numero de Ambika, e ele foi bom em ter usado o seu propio celular para ligar para ela.

Cheguei na casa dela inteira depois de um tempo, e nao poderia estar mais orgulhosa. Eu nao estive sozinha por muito tempo, mas no tempo que estive, eu prestei atencao ao meu redor e a mim mesma. Creio que sao nesses momentos que nos damos conta quem realmente somos e quem estamos nos trasnformando. Voce tem que ter coragem para sair no mundo a fora, e da sua area de conforto.

Categories: India | 2 Comments

Post navigation

2 thoughts on “Finding myself in India

  1. secasart

    Wow! That was very brave–and exciting! I can’t wait to hear how her parents hosted you; warmly, no doubt!
    Here Wendy is safely back from her adventures in Peru, Argentina and Brasil but I don’t know many details since we have both been busy. But it was very nice to dance with her again.
    And I had small adventures in Korea. The only time I went alone, I just walked to the zoo and had lots of fun smiling at people and their little children. I bought a stuffed Godzilla in the gift shop. I guess they don’t see too many Westerners at this zoo because the lady there gave me a nice smile and some candy!
    I was not even brave enough to try the subway alone, although I hear it is very safe and easy to use. There wasn’t much time to explore or shop, but I did bargain in one store and got an extra little free gift when I bought 10 for the regular price. Small victory! And I tried to use a little of the language, although it is quite unfamiliar to me. Oh, I tried almost all the food too! Really, that is quite brave for me! Maybe your example is inspiring me!

    Please keep posting! I am having such a wonderful journey just reading about yours.
    Besos!
    Suzanne

  2. Rose Sampaio

    Mamy,
    I am so proud of you, but be safe please!!!
    Eu entendo perfeitamento que voce deve conhecer o que realmente te levou a esse lugar, mas nao esqueca que voce e uma turista, isso indica muitos perigos ao seu redor!! O desconhecido muitas
    vezes tambem nos tras problemas!! Em todo caso reflita, amadureca, planeje, mas jamais
    esqueca de cuidar de voce. Nossas oracoes para voce estar bem sao muitas, eu sei
    que e maravilhoso voce descobrir o quanto voce pode fazer, voce ja e destemida desde
    quando voce pegou aquela “malinha” de roupas de bonecas e disse que estava indo lembra?? Voce so tinha 4 anos de idade, imagina essa linda mulher aos 21 anos descobrindo o Mundo atraves dos
    olhos dela!! Be safe! I love you!!
    Your Mom🙂

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: