December 13, 2005
So, the trip in India has finished. It was started by a frustration, my failure to get the 3 month Indian visa as I expected due to the Indian incredible bureaucracy and arrogant officer attitude and also inconsistency in its embassy in Kathmandu. The days in India itself were also started by the frustrations in Delhi. To get my camera repaired was a struggle. To escape from the rickshaw drivers was also a struggle. And Pakistan visa was as difficult as next to impossible. These frustrations was added by diarrhoea, fever, etc etc that made me almost give up India.
But in the situation that I lost almost everything, I lost my spirit of travelling, I lost my sence of observation and communication, suddenly came this heroine. Lam Li, a journalist from Malaysia, whom I shared most of my idea with her, who made me learn about life behind photography, who made me read many, many good books. And almost a month together in Rajasthan made me discover again what I have to do, what I want to do, and what I must do.
Suddenly I feel that I love India. Despite of the cheaters and scammers, despite of the annoying “Japani, Japani, annyonghaseyo” for every single minute, despite of the aggressive beggars and rickshaw wallas, this country is also really, really cute. The pureness of the people, the enthousiastic in discovering their own life (playing badminton with pingpong bats, playing cricket with badminton racket and suttlecocks, etc), is something that you have to discover behind the small alleys around the small villages. And it’s so fascinating to find that how Indonesian is India, or how Indian is Indonesia. Tagore, a famous Indian poet, visited Java and cited, “I see India everywhere, but I cannot recognize it.” And here, I see Indonesia everywhere, just very deep in the detail of life. Indonesia and India have very strong historical link, but both have developed in their own way to be distinctive enough, but still bound tightly.
People said when you travelled in India, you would experience it in 3S: Stolen, Sickness, and Sex. Stolen, I got it in Kathmandu, and the myriad stories of the scams and rip offs (incl that I almost lost my 1000$ camera in its authorized service center) were just so common here. Sickness, OK, I got diarrhoea almost every even day, and the last is Hepatitis A. Something that I have never thought before. Sex… Uhuhuhuhu…. so many funny stories here, also included the sexual harassment by my hotel manager. They are just genuine experience in India that I had in my 2 months.
Yeah, at the end of my trip, I fell in love with India. I met many loving people in the hospital, friendly rickshaw drivers in Mumbai, the hospitalble slum dwellers in Mumbai, the colourful weddings in Rajasthan, …., 2 months are just not enough.
And India, it’s not “I Never Do It Again” as some people say. Surely, I will come back again to India.