Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Milestones: Three years in the pink city

Not all of Jaipur looks like this...

Recently, I keep starting out my posts with numbers. Perhaps it helps me to establish the landmarks, to measure my success on this uncharted path. For me, these three years are the longest ever time that I've been settled in one place since I graduated from high school in 1999. I'm discounting the four years of college because I moved a lot from year to year.

True, I haven't been in Jaipur for three years straight, either. I have left for at least 2 months every year to visit family, and last year I was hardly home since I spent almost half the time at the ashram or travelling. It's probably the only way I could've survived.

Nonetheless, three years with my stuff in the same apartment, with or without me. Three years of having Jaipur as home base, ready for me when I return. Three years of pigeons as my closest neighbors.

It was in April 2007 that we came here. I want to be able to say something very insightful about my experience here, a neatly packaged byte of wisdom. But in my stupor of disbelief that I've made it here this long, I'm struggling to make much out of it.

Actually, perhaps the real motivating force behind writing this post, behind even the realization itself that I have been here for that long, is that we are most probably leaving Jaipur. I hesitate to give more details because that deserves its own post. But the impending departure certainly has made me recognize how settled I've become here, and dare I say it? Attached.

To be honest, I can't think of things off the top of my head that I particularly like about this place, but to do Jaipur some justice, I will put some effort in and make a list:

  1. Central Park
  2. seeing Nahargarh Fort from my window

Ok, the list idea is pointless. It's sounding horribly negative, which has nothing to do with Jaipur in itself--it's more to do with my own perspective and judgements.

While now I can say that I'm in a positive frame of mind, much of my time here has not been spent in that way. Furthermore, I can say that I've come to terms with my previous negativity, and have reached more of a state of acceptance of life, of being here, all the pros and cons included. It's been a sacrifice, but has held certain advantages. They've pretty much cancelled each other out.

Pros include low cost of living, nice apartment, being close to in-laws, being close to Delhi. Cons: difficulty in going out (weather & logistics combined), weather, lack of social circle, weather, being close to in-laws, weather...

Dear Jaipur, you're too hot and I can't think properly. You've made life difficult for me, but I forgive you.

Nahargarh Fort, which I can see from my window

(also posted on my blog, BeckyBlab)


YogaSavy said...

Oh yes Jaipur, Delhi or even Gurgaon will do that to you....its the mysterious side of India that i love!

awitchtrying said...

What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing. I long to travel but I'm not sure I would be able to live for that long so far from home. I'd like to think I could. I admire you for doing it and for letting the experience help you see yourself clearly. That may be one of the best things travel can do for us.

Katherine Jenkins said...

India is a great paradox...the highs and lows all together in one package. I can say that "I loved" my time in India..but I know there were times when all I could think about was the need to escape. India doesn't hide anything. It's all right there in the open. And in some ways, that's beautiful and amazing! Enjoy the rest of your time in India...and maybe we can actually *meet* when you come back to the states!

Becky said...

I must say I've found a lot of support through others; nowadays it tends to be more virtual, so thanks all :) I used to have a small network of other expats here, but I've outstayed them all. The strange thing about being online most of the day is that it enables me to completely forget what's outside. Then, as soon as I step out, it all hits me in the face again.

Thanks Kathy for the invitation, but it looks like we're staying...! But I will be visiting the east coast in a couple months.

Marilyn said...

Thank you for sharing your world, your words and images...and I agree, there is nothing like grabbing a handful of dirt, from a place you never thought you would be...and getting the tangible nature...capturing it...and being right there. Hot, cold, or perfect weather...or even their storms...all of the preconceived ideas vanish...
You aren't a tourist...you share in their lives...and given a private view few would ever know or understand. That is a precious gift.

Lynne Walker said...

Well, you intrigued me with your honest comments and striking photographs...thanks for sharing.