So there I was, in Paharganj, Delhi, in all it's filth, sleaze, junkie, tout infested glory, having just bitten into my last Indian delicacy. I'd had my eye on this sickly sweet ,deep fried goodness ever since day one. I hadn't dared try one in all these months, intimidated by the shameless indulgence it

represented (!), but with only hours left of my Indian odyssey, I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. Bite number one and I was floating. I thought some genius had come up with liquid bliss and I'd just taken a shot of it in the arm - the sugar rush was that intense. Seconds later, I came crashing down. The litle bliss bomb had given me an instant headache and in the seconds that I stood there spinning and regaining my composure (ah sugar - how I love thee), a series of things happened:
A green eyed, leering tout started up the familiar conversation (with my breasts) "hey sweetie, where you from?", a cow that I'd failed to notice in my stupor was suddenly drooling snot inches from my face with a keen eye on the sweet jalebi in my hand, and just as I was stepping out of the way to avoid its slobbery kiss, a raving homeless teenager came storming out of nowhere, yelling towards me in hindi, snatched the jalebi from my hand and walked away eating it!
I laughed, my heart swelled with joy and tears sprang from deep within. I looked over at my green eyed friend and blurted,
"I love India!"
"Ok yeah. You come into my shop?"
And that's how I said goodbye to India.
A month earlier, things were very different. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
Rajasthan and the oppressive heat had taken its toll and I found myself roaming the streets of beautiful Pushkar weary and somewhat jaded. Everything I had initially loved about India, its chaos and head wobbles, the quirky Hindu ways that had been so charming had become, well, infuriating. Warm invitations to chai were now awkward and annoying and my patience with the sleaze factor had dwindled down to almost nothing. It was becoming more and more difficult to keep up the light hearted and compassionate tolerance levels of the previous months. I had become homesick for my homies. My girlfriends in particular. I craved that uplifting, love induced empowerment that a good old girlie session always provides. I was stifled and weakened by the overbearing male dominance of northern India and angered by the invisibility of my Indian sisters. Most importantly, however, I was becoming angry at myself for allowing my heart to grow hard, where once it had been an open door, it was now barely ajar.
So it was that I found myself pondering my emotional state, lying damp from my own sweat and staring up at the ceiling fan. I think hours passed.
Not good enough thought I.
Action had to be taken.
So I donned my sandals and hotfooted it to town and booked myself on the earliest flight I could get to....
N - never
E - ending
P - peace
A - and
L - love.
And from there the Indian tale ends and a new one begins, but before I begin to share with you the adventures of this next chapter, some thanks need to be given.
I've been away from India for about 2 months now and it feels like a film watched long ago, yet the mark it has left, well I can only hope, will be with me forever.
So, in light of said analogy, it's with joy in my heart that I, the writer/director/producer of the movie that is my life, do loudly and lovingly give thanks to all the players who made India the journey and experience that it was. ROLL CREDITS!!!!

In order of appearance:

For my first taste of Indian hospitality
The Street Vendors
For the best street food in India.
Mother Teresa
For your guidance and protection.
Vikram and the Gang
For lessons in charity-and cricket!
Greg and Hedwig
For sharing the Dhamma
Everyone at FPMT
For silence,amazing food and cozy rooms
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
For his vision in sharing the Dhamma
with the west of us.
For yoga bootcamp and good laughs
Baby Goat in Red Cardigan
For dancing by the Ganges
Divya & Co.
For sweet serendipity and taking me to the theatre
Swami at Bob Marley Cafe
For super chilled out hospitality - a God send!
For funny adventures and making me laugh you bad mother you!
There aren't enough words in the universe. xx

Aviram and Yorit
For showing me with your actions that the dream can be made real.
Sadhana Forest Folks
For your love-filled, transformational, fun loving energy - You Rock!!!
Chen and Yaniv
For (another) new beginning
Nithi & Sanjay
For the oasis
Manju and the Maaya Folks
For sharing your lives with me.
The amazing costumes.
The literature.
The space.
For taking me back, one breath at a time :)
For teaching me the lesson I needed
For showing me the divinity of dance
For reminding me of lessons already learned!
For girlie chats and bubbles!
For your sincerity, hugs and stories of Amma.
For beautiful jewellery and keeping me cool in the blistering heat.
The Camel Safari Men
For your desert songs.
For being the straw that broke the camel's back.
The Sisters
For your beauty, curiosity, perseverance, mother natures, spirited defiance.

and finally,

The Land
For smacking me in the face,
Giving me a shake,
Tickling my toes and
Screaming in my ears
'Wake up wake up wake up!'

Yours in love
Barb xx