A Rare Moment of Calm
The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota are two of those places that make you love humanity. At least that is the effect they have had on me and the many an out-of-towners who have fallen in love with my hometown. And what’s not to love? The smiling strangers, cute neighborhood coffee shops, ample and clean park space, backyard gardens, historic homes, tree-lined streets, and a thriving theater scene are just a few of the Twin Cities’ many charms. Most large businesses in the area will tell you that while it may be difficult to recruit employees to Minnesota it is even harder to send them elsewhere once they have settled in the North Star State.
New Delhi, on the other hand, is huge, dirty, disorganized, and its residents are much too fond of their horns. If ever appointed mayor of New Delhi I would outlaw honking for one week just to see how Delhites handled the silence. New Delhi has the hot humidity of Hotlanta without the Southern charm (or soul food) and the meanness of New York without…well I don’t think anything balances NYC’s meanness either. New Delhi is not unlike many other megacities around the world. There isn’t much to be loved in the traffic jammed mess of humanity that characterizes the world’s largest metropolises. Sure they inspire awe, fascination even, but I’ve never stood in the middle of one such city and thought “gee, look at these lovely humans and what they have created.” Boasting a bustling population close to 14 million and lacking in infrastructure New Delhi is no exception.
These days I feel like I am feeling my surroundings with every nerve in my body – nerves that have been grated raw by the constant sensory assault of honking horns and the metal-on-metal sound of old brakes. So today when I emerged from the library to the velvety green blanket of a calm evening I felt its full embrace with unrivaled satisfaction. The soft orange light of the setting sun was still bright on the green vegetation that lines the paths. The air, humid but not hot, kissed my skin and hugged me with its weight. The light brightened me from the inside and put a smile on my face. Growing up in Minnesota I have become very attentive to the intricate changing of the light as seasons shift. Today’s dusky and dappled light felt like a message from home.
My time in India has been full of huge hurdles and small victories. This week’s biggest accomplishment was buying a rack to dry laundry, a small achievement rewarded generously with the fresh smell of air dried laundry washed with Tide detergent. India has taught me that we don’t need much and, though small, the victories are made all the sweeter in contrast to the ample opportunities for disillusionment. I would love to have stayed in the soft cocoon of this evening forever. Instead I will hold it with me, conjuring up this feeling of calm whenever I see the peach of a setting sun at the end of another crazy day in India.
On a current events note, Daniel has written a great outline and update post on the anti-corruption movement which gained a decisive victory today. I visited the protest grounds on Monday and will write my own update soon.