Breathing India In
The air is different here. As soon as I stepped off the plane, the cool, humid air confronted me. With it, it carried the thick smell of bonfire from that night's trash disposal. The next morning I would see its effects on the horizon; the smog and fog blanketed the city. Each day, the sun sends its light through an opaque curtain, giving everything a foggy yellow kiss. It’s like in the movies, when they tint the film to change the mood of the scene – bluer for gloomier times, yellow for past memories. Except that here, it’s real. The light really is tinted yellow. Instead of sharp, clear Arizona sunlight, the smog softens India’s light.
Color choice is different here too. Patterns of red, sand and marigold cover the carpet at the airport. All of the commercial carpeting is in shades of blue, or the occasional burgundy and tan in the United States. This carpet is bright and almost too busy. It doesn't blend in or calm, it excites. It also set the stage for our trip. India is energetic. My husband would say chaotic and I would agree, but at the same time, it's alive. Delhi's heart beats fast. The poor live an uncomfortable, unsettled life - never getting to rest or relax like we feel entitled to do in the US. The rich go out, testing their endless pocketbooks and livers. It's as if everyone understands the same concept: LIFE IS SHORT.
Originally written December 30, 2012