7 days, in and out, and I'm back before my own iMac, in my own little bedroom, my own house, my own sleepy hill-top village, as though India's nothing more than the distant memory of a fading dream. It's been a funny kind of a trip; a whirlwind break in day-to-day routine but definitely not a rest. India has never, ever, failed to give me the time of my life; but the explosion of colour, the excessive noise, the myriad smells and the constant flurry of hustle and bustle make it impossible to switch off. It's a non-stop feast for the senses, what with there always being somewhere to look and something to see, so it commands attention, not relaxation. It's hardly a surprise then that I feel absolutely knackered. I don't know about you but I find introductions and formalities and pleasantries all a bit tiring too. Extracting. They take a lot out of me. And the past five days have been a marathon in exactly the same; so the near 24 hour (door-to-door) journey home was actually some very welcome time alone - in fact, it was probably the most relaxing leg of my trip. It was the first time in a while that I could hear my own thoughts, that I was able to switch off as nobody was waiting for me, or expecting anything of me. Alone, and able to reflect on where I am, where I belong and where I'm going. India, to me, has always felt like the place where it all started; the source of my trilingual-ism, a home away from home. Now that I'm back, I long for the hooting rickshaws, the busy road-side pani-puri stalls and my grandparent's little flat. I definitely won't be leaving it another two years to get back.
I'm starting today with some pictures from Mumbai; though we were on an extremely tight schedule, we were lucky enough to catch the city at both sunrise and sunset - probably the two most beautiful (and bearable/advisable!) times of day to explore. A walk along Marine Drive at sundown is a must - as is a wander through the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel - followed by Chaat at Chowpatty. From a severely jet-lagged me, that's all for today. I'm going to crawl into bed (having tried-and-tested many-a-bed worldwide, it's know known fact that my bed is THE most comfortable, comforting, toasty, cozy bed in the WHOLE world) to catch a few winks. Ta-da, enjoy the rest of your weekend.