When I moved to Mumbai in 2008, I started a blog about my life in India married to an Indian guy. At the time, there weren’t many blogs like mine. It was disappointing, as I was going through a huge transition and wanted to read about the experiences of people in similar situations. I documented my thoughts and life in detail (the good, the bad, and the ugly!), in the hope of making sense of everything and helping others.
As I approach 10 years of living in India, I’ve been reflecting on my journey and what it’s entailed. Starting off in Kolkata and ending in Mumbai, it’s been a roller coaster of extraordinary experiences, discovery and self-discovery, frustration, transformation, and ultimately success. Here are some of the important things I’ve learned along the way.
There’s a saying amongst spiritual seekers that it’s grace alone that brings you to Tiruvannamalai and Mount Arunachala, and when the mountain calls you, you must go.
As the sun was setting, with monks beside me, I finally sat down to meditate. As I’ve previously studied Vipassana meditation, it was an experience that I was very much looking forward to. The overhead tree branches were alive with bird chatter, while gentle chanting in the background and the waft of incense helped lull me into quiet contemplation.
It was nearly 7 p.m. Darkness had almost completed its descent. I unsteadily stood on the lower step of the main ghat, Hari-ki-Pauri, at Haridwar with the holy water lapping at my feet. Apparently, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva had also once stood there, leaving their footprints behind.
Living in India definitely has its ups and downs — extreme ups and downs that it’s difficult to imagine unless you’ve gone through it yourself. I refer to it as the roller coaster. In some ways, living in India has been wonderful for me. It’s made me less of a control freak, and more easy going and adaptable. It’s taught me to develop boundaries with people, and be more assertive. It’s broadened my perspective on so many things, including life and spirituality. It’s opened me up to so many new experiences. In short, it’s added a new dimension to my personality.
Many people dream of writing a book. It sounds rather glamorous. Or, if someone has an interesting life story, they’re commonly told, “You should write a book.” It was a little over two years ago that I was lying in bed at my parents’ house, also pondering over whether I should write my book. I’d received offers from two publishers, but did I really have the courage to go ahead with it?