India // A moment of peace

Does anyone or anything in India ever stop? Where do people go to find a moment of peace?

"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing." Camille Pissaro 

Silence is almost unheard of India or atleast that what I was beginning to think. India is a place of constant noise from the beeping of traffic, temple music and chanting to an Indian lady barking orders at her family. You begin find yourself being drawn into this and slowly realise your natural instinct to be polite will get you nowhere! I very quickly realised queues don't exist in India whilst I waited politely in line for a train ticket whilst being shoved in every direction and trying to explain that I was next! If you want to get anything done or for someone to listen you need to act like everyone else; loud, bold and assertive! This slowly becomes tiring, the need to be "on guard" all the time, constantly watching your belongings, watching where and who you look at and always being ready to put up a fight. You become incredibly grateful for the warmth from even the smallest smile,  a calm and friendly tuk tuk driver or when a shop owner accepts that you don't want to buy a polished shell with your name on it.

There's no such thing as meeting for a "catchup over coffee" in India, especially for women. You can grab a coffee at a small street stall whilst the men stare and sit amongst the stray dogs and rubbish or if you're lucky there might be a small stool to rest your weary legs. As far as a girly catch up, they don't exist. I've only seen women take a rest in the evenings after a long day of cooking and cleaning, sitting outside their homes chatting to their family and neighbours. Even meal times in India are done at speed and in complete silence. There's no pleasure in sharing meals with one another and no time to fully enjoy the company. We would sit sipping our coffee for as long as we could whilst 4 members of staff eagerly waited for us to finish and heard us out of the restaurant. The love and time taken to prepare the meals is forgotten in the space of minutes.

Peace and and quiet might not come naturally to India but when you find it those moments feel like complete bliss. In India you need to "go with the flow", otherwise you will still be waiting for your chai 2 hours later!! You need to accept the chaos, noise, dust and the constant staring eyes and find the peace within each moment. Sitting on the street drinking coffee I soon realised that the silence and the peace I had been searching for was right there. The "Chitta Vritti" (mind chatter) had disappeared and the streets of India became meditative. The cows and dogs wandered at ease along the streets (some popping their heads into shops) whilst the traffic manoeuvred gracefully around the animals, vehicles and pedestrians with little or no interest to which side of the road to drive on. The streets were a sea of colour, lit up by the womens beautiful saris as they ran their daily errands.

Just checking you were home! (Photo: Jenny Lovatt)

Just checking you were home!
(Photo: Jenny Lovatt)

Amongst the organised chaos and endless things to see, hear, smell, touch and taste, you have no "time" to be anywhere else . Without any force India naturally brings you into the present moment, the place where life truly begins.

"Ego says, Once everything falls into place, I'll feel peace. Spirit says, Find peace and then everything will fall into place. " Marianne Williamson

Iona x


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