ALEXANDRA SARABIA
ALEXANDRA SARABIA
shantaram
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There was a distinct moment of weakness during my trip to India this past October. My best friend and I were on a train back to Delhi after our last stop on our tour in Pushkar. The train ride was a long 7 hours, but it was a welcome change of transportation after being relegated to a tour bus for the entirety of the trip.

To be honest, I didn’t enjoy India as much as I wanted to. I think it’s because I did it all wrong. I always felt like an outsider looking in the whole time, receiving a white-washed version of India. I remember one woman on our tour remarked to the tour guide, “You can never take an ugly picture here”.

The juxtaposition of saris against the poverty always confounded and saddened me. This may be my ignorance talking, but was that why the saris were always a kaleidoscope of colors? A way to mediate the reality of their situations? I myself took many pictures of these beautiful silhouettes, in the brightest of hues and celebration, against dilapidated buildings, broken streets, and begging children.

If I told you why I wanted to go to India in the first place…it wasn’t to quench my traveler’s thirst. It wasn’t to fulfill some bucket list ambition.

It was a way to heal.

On that train back to Delhi, I broke down and cried, telling my best friend that the trip was really hard for me. There were reminders everywhere, even though the connections were flimsy. Despite everything being amicable in the end….It was just so hard to appreciate the country around me, to even have the opportunity to travel, to be in London to study, to be given a chance at the life I want….when the person you cared about for eight months wasn’t there to support you, to be with you. And probably doesn’t care about you like that anymore. Firsts are always worst.

During my trip to India, I read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and there was this one distinct line that stayed with me the entire trip: “Sometimes you break your heart in the right way, if you know what I mean”.

If my heart didn’t break, I would have never even applied to school in London. I would have never applied to grad school, period. I would have never traveled to India. I would have never gone on a “date” with someone I hardly knew.  I would have never made so many incredible friends who I know will be in my life forever. I wouldn’t have known that I defiantly, without any hesitation, want to stay in London for the rest of my life.

I am terrified of beginning again.

I have been saying since the beginning of the year that something incredible was going to happen. Something huge. And while London, India, meeting all these incredible people, are all pretty amazing (and maybe I am being greedy), but I have a feeling something big will happen for me in terms of love. Not just all kinds of love, but the one.  I can feel it and maybe I shouldn’t have such a romantic view of well, anything….but it’s going to happen.