Sunday evening - the 18th. I’m sitting in Mumbai International Airport. I have 12 hours before I can check-in. It’s 7pm. So this will be a sleepless night for me as I sit on a chair in the waiting hall, counting down the hours until I board the plane. I didn’t deliberately chose to end my journey like this. It’s just that the timing of the connecting methods of transport have not really “gelled” together. I’ve been on the road since Saturday morning. When I started off, I was feeling ready and able for the journey onwards to Italy. I knew it would be a long one and I’m now at the stage where I don’t know if I’m coming or going, nor what day it is. I have around 24 more hours to go. But I can’t complain, because this is all part of the fun.
My last days in Chennai were brilliant. Within a few days of being there, I started to have a feeling of belonging. And that’s something that doesn’t always come to me! A sense of belonging wasn’t only at Jayanthi’s home, but in the city too. There was so much ease, in everything! This only made it effortless for me to spend the week winding down from previous travels and gearing myself up, at the same time, for the upcoming changes. I was chilling-out, reflecting, writing, looking after myself and getting along with the city-life of Chennai as well as getting the homely feel at Jayanthi’s. Also something that will have contributed to my feeling so homely with the situation I had placed myself in, for the remainder of days in India, was getting well acquainted with Jayanthi’s new tenants who are temporarily occupying the top floor of their home. The husband is Indian, who goes by the name of Dietrich and his wife, Jeannette, is Dutch! They have 2 gorgeous kids, Dhana and Lukas and have only recently relocated from Holland to India and are in the middle of setting up a new life here. How inspiring it is to see this! It was also like I was slowly becoming re-tuned with the Western world, through the contact, talks and familiarity I experienced with Jeannette. Something I’m very much grateful for! So I felt I reached the right state of mind, to concur whatever the journey would throw at me, by the time it came to me saying goodbye, almost too suddenly. That time arrived on Saturday morning. I said it feeling so happy due to the time I got to spend, once again, within this special family. I also felt I was completing my Indian chapter and was coming “full-circle”: I arrived in Cochin, in Kerala, then headed to Chennai for 5 weeks, slowly made my way back to Kerala again and then to top it all off nicely, I came to Chennai one more time!
On the road again: I was overloaded and weighed down by the luggage, but I knew it was just one last push through the Indian madness. This always seems to be my struggle: the size of my backpack! For this part of the journey, I forced myself to part with quite a lot of clothes. Especially after I unexpectedly went bargain hunting on Thursday afternoon to freshen-up my “wardrobe” after more than a year of carrying and wearing the same raggedy clothes. Wouw, I couldn’t believe how good it made me feel to buy new stuff that I’d be able to wear elsewhere, without feeling like a “knacker”. It made me feel to be apart of the bigger world again! This might sound strange, but the longer I’m away from home, the more unfamiliar I become with western fashion and so often I’d look at photo’s of family and friends back at home and I’d be blown away by the stylish clothes - not to mention hairstyles! In my current daily life, or what was current up until a few days ago, I’d be used to seeing either beautiful Indian women in their dresses and sarees or travellers who don’t care what they wear- which is also what I would see in the mirror each day! So I was feeling renewed with a fresh backpack-contents! I then parted with my Indian dresses and saree. What a shame! But I left them at Jayanthi’s house; because I have a feeling I’ll be back there at some stage in the future. Don’t know if it’s the near or the distant future though.. Humm..
My backpack was still weighing me down though and getting on and off busses was a chore. Shouting at the bus conductor to wait so I could get off, happened on a few occasions as I was pulling and hauling my luggage and pushing my way through the crowds of people, who are so rude and couldn’t care less when it comes to offering a hand! Actually since leaving Chennai yesterday morning, I realized that the people would prefer to stand in groups, looking at me and laugh in my face (not even sneakily sniggering!) at the scene I’m setting in motion due to the lack of control and strength I have when fighting with gravitational forces. So infuriating! But I managed, obviously. Or else I wouldn’t be sitting in a waiting room typing about the journey so far!