In under 48 hours, I will board a plane bound for India.
A land spiritually governed by the cyclic rythmns of Hindu beliefs and shaped by waves of power, belief and hope. I realise that I haven’t had time to prepare much and hope that the shutters to my virgin subcontinental mind will be flung open and laying it exposed and absorbant, ready to be bombarded by the sensual overload that I expect awaits.
In the past 20 days, three people I know have died and three people I know have given birth. My colleague became a father on Christmas day. Hot on his heels, my big sister eventually, theatrically (and excessively descriptively, if you are one of my mother’s friends) gave birth to an amazing, skinny, pink frog. The very next day, my work-mate and fellow office skivvy, Mike, died. On the very last day of 2008, my friend Louisa’s father died suddenly in his sleep. In the meantime, a friend had her first baby boy.
And so on.
As new life bubbles up, froths, squelches and hiccups into the world, slightly less new lives ooze, sigh, simmer and evaporate, leaving empty spaces. The cycle is undeniably poetic but as metaphorical as the Hindu wheel of life is, the process is solid, tangible and real. I have never realised before quite how circular, animalistic, predictable and natural life, and death, are.
It’s been a sobering few weeks. I’ve felt confused, responsible, lost, invigorated and adoring at once. I’ve cried, laughed, cooed and touched the tip of the enormity – and fragility – of human procreation. Albeit in a pretty small, urban way.
Steamy heat, city beat. Billions of fingers, toes, eyes, teeth. Millions of tongues, pony-tails, noses and tummy buttons. Mouths to feed, bodies to wash, phones to answer, babies to change, life to move on.
India. The timing is perfect.