Come along for the journey!

Come along for the journey!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH: (Pushkar, India)

I just heard from my brother that his best mate died. It's very upsetting, and he's such a young guy. We hide death pretty well in the West. In fact we hide our lives pretty well too. In India, it's the polar opposite - life and death literally happen 'on the street'. People eat, sleep, wash, work, live, die, and generally loiter for no apparent reason on the street. For this reason it is both a vibrant and vital, messy and decaying place. For this, a bunch of western travellers continue to gravitate here in pursuit of this vibrant reality, despite the trade off of the stench and harsh truths that await.

I saw my first dead body here aged eighteen, on my first day in India wandering through Bombay: a young child in the arms of her wailing father with a prayer chalked on the pavement in front of them. It's no less profound eighteen years later to see bodies paraded through the streets to be burnt publicly and communally grieved. People here are familiar and sensitised to death happening. In the West, we are encouraged to 'work through things ourselves', aside from those around us:  we take our mess out of the family realm where it may stress and shame, we talk to professionals, strangers, to impersonally unravel our pain, we isolate to find inner strength and our own path…perhaps to a fault?

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