I wish that I was sending this from some hot, loud internet cafe in Jaisalmer Market. But I’m not. I’m sending this from my cold, badly lit kitchen in London. Yes, I have returned from my travels and feel quite sad about it. Sand has been replaced by snow all around me, and female models on billboards once again resume their role of distorting my perception of beauty.
I really thought that I would be one of the most capable at dealing with coming back, but this has not been the case. Everything seems so empty, static, and cold. I sit around my house without purpose and wonder between the kitchen and other rooms aimlessly. I keep checking my fridge but don’t want anything in it. I’m really not happy. My brother and friends seem convinced that the feeling is natural and will pass with time. I’m open to this thought but not entirely convinced. It is for that reason that I am literally about 2 clicks away from booking a flight back out of the country for some time. It’s really that bad.
Ten weeks in a simple, desert environment feels much closer to what life should be like. It’s better at representing what living has been like for humanity on this planet due to its simplicity and closeness to nature. It is for this reason that I loved India. Not because of India itself, but because of the environment we were in. There are so many things that I miss and that I want to continue to experience. I want the sun to beat down on me throughout the day; to sling a sheet-blanket over my shoulders in public when it’s cold; to wear flip-flops in the sand; and to have 3 meals like clock-work and have no say in what they are. I want to be anxious about the temperature of my water before I shower; to want to walk around in the evenings where my trusty hand-held companion isn’t my mobile phone, but my torch; to sleep in the company of others; and to see exactly when the sun rises and sets. I want to share smiles with children who have little; to wake up each morning guaranteed that I’ll be doing something meaningful with my day; to hear the number 5 pronounced “pipe”; to be charmingly shouted at by market sellers as I walk passed their stalls; to be able to bring down the prices of things I buy, and to see and dodge animals everywhere I go. I want the opportunity to have an adventure at any moment.
On the last day of teaching, I was able to see the fruits of my labour with Amida, when she sat outside the Day Care Centre and was teaching a couple of the village kids some of the first words that I taught her 9 weeks ago. It would be the first time she had ever taught any English to the kids she cares for. I was so happy to see this, I almost cried. It’s exactly what I wanted.
Even the other volunteers, I will miss greatly. Despite the gossip and ‘banter’ as they called it, they were the people I shared this experience with. When the vast majority of them sent around sentimental notebooks for everyone else to sign and write their goodbyes, I made sure I wrote a personal message to each one highlighting a trait that I especially liked. I took Amida’s address and gave her mine so we could write to one another. I intend to stay in touch with the village, and I do intend to return someday.
It’s been a pleasure writing to you all. Thanks for reading. I never did get my phone back. And I never got to try out the mystical ritual whereby the thief’s identity would be revealed in person’s finger nail at the recitation of some prayers. So alternatively, my brother popped to Brent Cross and bought me a new phone from the 02 Store. My (same) number should be up and running soon.
Over and out