There have been days, or certain parts of the day, when the pace of life in this huge city, has taken it’s toll on me. Chennai can be so fast, the pollution can be so thick, the buses can be so full, the streets can be so congested. As I’m still getting used to being in a huge Indian city, I don’t find it easy being “out and about”. I’ve been to many cities in different countries. But I’m convinced that adjusting to being in one of India’s largest cities, is a total different ballgame, than for instance adjusting to life in Sydney, Kuala Lumpur or Amsterdam even.
Travelling through the city and trying to make my way through the hoards of people, can be a challenge. It’s a pressurizing feeling I can sometimes be confronted with. Sometimes I find it difficult to walk and talk as I need to stay focused just to get to where I’m going. I must stay in-tune with the speed of the rickshaws, the scooters and the cars all to avoid missing a step or dodging a car whilst ignoring the stares and the pleading young kids for spare change.
I must admit, the first few days I was really on top of things. I was being shown the city and didn’t have to think too much about how I getting from A to B. Today I went out on my own, for the first time. I had to make my way to the other side of town. I hopped on and off buses, I got spoken to in the local Tamil language, I was helped by many friendly people but also I was told to get off buses when I hadn’t reached my destination and was sent back and forth when searching for a particular street. I had to laugh at the commotion around me. It didn’t get me frustrated, but it instead opened my eyes again and reminded me of where I was and it reminded me of my vulnerability almost. But it didn’t phase me. I simply joked with the rickshaw driver who tried to rip me off, I thanked the shopkeeper who told the begging children to leave me alone and I smiled when the guard of the bus station shouted at me for using the wrong entrance.
After this outing, I gained so much more respect than I already had, for the people of this city and the people of this country. Especially the women. They are amazing. Each and everyday they make their way through the crowds, they take-on the afternoon heat, they carry bags of fruit and vegetables as if they are without weight and with all of this, they still manage to look elegant in their saris, pretty with their make-up and strong in their presence. Invincible and tough, yet kind and gentle are words that come to mind. So impressed I am by how they can seem to live so effortlessly. And when they see me, they must see such a distressed, out of place and “lost” girl who is trying to concur this life, just in the same manner as they are.
What an experience this was. But I’m so glad by how the events turned out. Yes, I was exhausted afterwards and was left with little energy to do anything else, other than read a book by the name of the “Holy Cow ”, which is giving me insights and lessons as to how an Australian girl experienced and fitted into life, in India. Very inspiring by the way! So at the moment, I’m eager to keep on venturing out and learning more as I do so. This is the time and it’s also the place!