Well that’s about it from India, for this trip at least. I’ll try not to embarass myself with a rambling “Deep Thoughts” discourse on my perceptions of India. In fact I really don’t have all that much to say about that; it simply is what it is. Coming here, I had a fantasy about India; reasonably well-informed, but a fantasy nonetheless. Now that I’ve had my feet on the ground, I know something of the reality of the place; it’s both less and more than the fantasy, as expected.
The 2nd part of this trip was a conventional sightseeing vacation, though the plan had to be altered because of the Mumbai terror attacks. Wendy had previously made other travel plans (she’s spending a month up near Bodhgaya), so I’ve been on my own for the last 10 days. Traveling solo is not something I’m fond of. That, combined with feeling a little down, and then just downright really sick, has put a damper on this part of it. I feel like I got a pretty good sense of Udaipur, but I definitely need to give Jodhpur another shot on a future trip; I’ve been holed up in the guest house most of the time. I did manage a walkthrough of the old city on my first full day, but other than that I’ve missed most of it.
Going into this, I more or less looked at the first part of the trip – at the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the south – as a chillout prelude to the meat of the trip; seeing and absorbing India. Much to my surprise, that was not the case… at all. I’m not an actively religious person, but my interactions with a few of the monks – and one gentle old monk in particular – gave me some profoundly moving and poignant moments. Even though we only had maybe 50 words in common, they still managed to crack my heart wide-open, which is exactly what I seemed to need at this point in my life. I would gladly return to India for no other reason but to see them again, and may well do just that.
As for painting; well I haven’t said much about that, have I? Mostly because I haven’t done much. I did do a few watercolor sketches, most of which I gave as gifts along the way. Watercolor is a very scary medium to me, but it has whetted my appetite to work with it a little more for landscape. As for what impact this will all have on my still life painting, that is a very good question. Maybe nothing, maybe something; i am curious to find out myself. Stay tuned for further developments.
Thanks to everyone who I met and helped me out along the way. Thanks to everyone who tuned in to read and comment. I haven’t been regular about responding to comments while on the road, but I will sit down and do that once I’m home. Above all, of course, thanks to Sean who basically pushed me onto the plane and then talked me out of getting back on one when things got a little dicey here. Without his help and gentle insistence, I would have spent the last month in a sleepy Boston suburb, as usual.