Butterfly in India

Many of you have already seen the photo above; it was from a very momentous time for me and I feel gifted with being able to photograph these two girls. Before I met them I was sick; I thought I was dying because I had dysentery. I remember all the foreigners talking about how terrible it would be to be sick alone and to die alone in a foreign country and here I was living it.

At one point I couldn’t move from my bed; a few villagers came to my room to make sure I was OK. I remember them cleaning up my vomit, sponging me down with rose soap and water, and feeding me water with lemons. Without being asked they helped me in one of the most horrible moments of my life. I am forever grateful to them and they shrugged it off like it was nothing.

It was on the day that I was well enough to walk around the village unassisted that I found these two girls. I was weak from being sick but at the same time, I felt like a butterfly who had just sprung from a cocoon. The girls were flitting around in their village and were more than overjoyed to drag around a foreigner who couldn’t fight being coddled. They showed me off to their friends and family, charcoaled my eyes, fed me food and showed me their wonderful nature. I’ve never been the same since.

India is a journey and not a trip. You can’t go there and not be changed. If you expect to be like a tourist you’ll get lost. They live by very different rules in India and at times I likened it to being surrounded by a spirit that controls everything that happens; the spirit is ever watching and if you are willing you can exist with it and see the most amazing things.

If you resist the spirit makes your journey difficult and you are constantly struggling to find your way; the longer you resist the harder it gets and only when you’re completely broken and sobbing on the ground are you able to see the wondrous beauty around you. The most beautiful, startling and horrible life lessons happen in India.

One of the things I remember most is the eyes of children. Their eyes were always so bright and clear; so fresh and so brilliantly white. I’ve always wondered what made their eyes this clear and I still ponder it to this day.

5 comments on “Butterfly in IndiaAdd yours →

  1. It is exactly posts like these that keep me coming back to your site. Did you know that yours was one of the first blogs I ever read? Did you know that yours is the first one I check every morning? I admit that I started reading as a fellow mommy, but I kept reading for many other reasons. Whether you are venting about daycares or pondering the beauty and ugliness that is India, you make me think. Thank you. And yes, I am commenting from work!

  2. Great story. The Beau has been to India many many times, wandering around, living like a king, experiencing so much. I envy him, but I know my time will come too. What you described is exactly why I feel I need to go at some point. To experience it.

    I wonder if those girls think of you the way you reflect on them. I wonder what become of them. India is a mysterious land.

  3. If that’s in Bangalore, those girls are probably engineers or computer geeks now. India like China, is developing very rapidly, educationally and industrially.

  4. Hi Kathy — The comment time of day has been turned off.

    Hi Tina — I think you’d do well in India. It’s a very go with the flow place. Does the beau go to the same place or does he travel in different areas each time? I met a few people from Nelson when I was travelling through Varanasi and Agra in 1997.

    Hi Bob — I was in Bangalore and there was a real difference between those who had money and those who didn’t; I saw a smidge of the tech industry but not much. I imagine it’s different now.

  5. 5 — ronnie said on 11 November 2008
    I really liked your blog, please keep your posts coming, whenever you have time, great share, thanks!

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