The past few days have been rather interesting, as I’ve been adjusting to life back in bustling and teeth-chatteringly cold Toronto.
Why, you may ask?
Because I just came back from my dream trip to India! (No, I’m not gloating. I’m just grateful for being able to say that:) I just spent 3 1/2 weeks wandering through central, north eastern and southern India and my GOD, all the reading and interviewing and research in the world couldn’t have prepared me for the raw and unapologetically chaotic world that is India.
People have often asked me why I decided to go to this land of spices, mythology and aggressive development. My answer is simple: I’ve always been drawn to it. Ever since I was about 12, I used to sit in my parents’ living room every Sunday morning and watch Bollywood movies on TV. I usually didn’t understand a word of it, but something about the stories and the way they were presented always drew me in. As I grew older, more and more things about the culture and society intrigued me: the spirituality; the vibrant clothing and jewelry; the mouth-watering cuisine; the traditional values and how it clashes with the rapid westernization of their youth today; the music and movies; the dichotomy of rich and poor; the sheer factor that once you’re there you can’t believe that all the little pieces that make up that society somehow manage to grate against each other and function. It’s like a beautiful engima.
So you see, I could never avoid going. And thus begins my love affair with India. Because once you’ve had a taste of her, I sense you’ll always be drawn back for more.
My partner in crime in my day-to-day life, Matt, joined me on this spicy adventure. And I gotta say, when you stick a journalist and a filmmaker together, you get some pretty informative AND entertaining video diaries:)
Our journey starts in Mumbai then goes up to the mountains of Darjeeling, down to Buddha’s home of enlightenment, Bodhgaya, then over to the holiest point of existence for Hindu’s, Varanasi. It then treks over to Agra, home of the Red Fort and Taj Mahal, then to the palaces of Jaipur and a hop, skip and jump down to the southern state of Kerala, infamous for its backwater boat rides and ayurvedic treatments. The final destination? Notorious Goa, known for its white-sand beaches (spotted with cows, of course!) and echoes of the trance party scenes of the 90s and long-haired hippies before then.