Where’s Mowgli? India – a study in extremes

Hinduism, the predominant religion here in India, seems to be mostly built around striking a balance between good and evil.. the idea of trying to keep life at a centered and even keel. Now to me, after only just a week and some change here in India, this seems completely ironic.

Anyone who has been to this massive and bustling part of the world could agree that it does in fact seem to always operate in polar extremes. The most beautiful architecture built by skilled artisans of centuries ago standing triumphantly while an old man takes a shit just beside it. Peaceful and serene greens of the fields please your eyes, while the scent of trash and exhaust fill your nose from your bike seat. Focusing on the beautiful and remarkable moments in this country seems to be a practise in learning to tune out the noise, evoking a bit of patience, and keeping your glass half full.

I flew to India after 4 months riding and surfing through Indonesia. My dad invited me to join him on a trip to visit a family friend who lives and volunteers in Manali, in the Himalayan mountains. But, nothing went according to plan. We arrived just in time for monsoon weather to have washed out the roads in Manali. Dad and I had planned on riding through the Himalayas with our friends for a week or so, even hoping to cross into Tibet for a visit. We tried to wait it out for a few days, hoping the floods would subside, but it became clear that we were derailed, and we’d have to make other plans. Not knowing what else to do, and with friends traveling with us (who were here to volunteer in a local hospital in Manali), we made due with a visit to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. We went full “touro” which I think is okay from time to time. And although I’m sure there’s lots of things we wish we would have done differently, we did the best with the hand were dealt. My dad and I even got to do some riding too.

Would I come back to India? For sure. So many unanswered questions tick around my mind after my short and complicated visit. I am honestly more baffled by India now than I was before I got here. But maybe that’s the beauty of it? You could spend years here and I’m sure still find pages unturned in your own little travel diary, things you had not yet known about it’s people, religions or it’s multi faceted culture. Overall I feel lucky to have experienced just a slice of it.

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