Last night at around 2am I was inside a car with a few friends who were driving me to an unknown place. On a cold Monday night, just a few hours before having to go to work.
We got out of the car, climbed up some stairs, walked through a village, climbed some more stairs, and suddenly there we were. In a construction with this amazing Indian architecture, in the middle of a lake surrounded by hills, covered by the moonlight and a clear starry sky, the cold winter breeze that blows from the Himalayas against our faces, being watched by a hyena, who eventually disappeared in the hills of Rajasthan.
We just stood there for a long time. That place is one of the most perfect and incredible places I have ever been in my entire life. I mean it. Whoever knows me, knows that I am a big fan of the cold weather, the full moon and the moonlight, breeze, landscapes, and the peace that night-time brings. And suddenly I had it all together in a single place, a place that really looked like a dream, a fairy tale, a movie set.
If you asked me 2 years ago, if there could be such a perfect, breath-taking moment like this in a country like India, my answer would be NO. And yet, this place, and many other places I’ve been to in India are so overwhelming that I just cannot stop thinking about this quote, that says:
To travel is to find out that everyone is wrong about other countries. – Aldous Huxley.
This is insanely true. A year ago, I didn’t even think about coming to India, not even for tourism. And now, here I am, not only travelling, but actually living here.
If there is any country you would never think about going to, that is exactly where you should go. GO. But don’t go with judging eyes. Don’t go with a “tourist” mindset, who believes that this is temporary, who has the illusion that their own country is better. Go with an open mind and stay. Stay long enough to fall in love. Fall in love with the country, the world, with life, with the subtle things that go unnoticed if you don’t pay close attention, the simple things of everyday life. Just stay. Nothing will change your mind more than this.
To me, that place was India. After 4 months in India, I just cannot believe I ever thought about NOT coming to this place. I really cannot believe that now I feel extremely comfortable with all the noises, traffic, serious stares in the streets, garbage, cows on the road.
I cannot believe I ever thought about missing out on the incredible people and amazing places I found here. I cannot believe I was going to miss the opportunity to discover all this, I cannot believe I would miss the chance to realize what a level of completeness, inner peace and perfect happiness I could reach at such an “imperfect” place.
Here I realized that it’s not poverty, dirt or noises that will affect on one’s happiness. Instead, I learned that happiness is inside of you, wherever you are. All you have to do is dig it out.