Southbound with Alanis

35,000 feet over South India, Alanis Morissette on the headphones as a painted sunset fades over the Arabian sea, and I’ve finally got a moment to breathe and reflect. I guess I always gravitate to Alanis at moments like this. Say what you like about her as a pop diva, but in her songs I hear the voice of unabashed and unrestrained gratitude. For what we have, for what are, for simply being. It speaks to me – especially here.

These past few days there have been so many sights, sounds. So many stories. And as one unforgettable story piles upon another, eventually there’s no room, and they all spill`and swirl together into something that is more a texture of life here than any specific memory. Maybe I’ll be able to retrieve bits and pieces – I do have the photos, after all. Maybe I’ll even manage to write some of it down. But there’s so much. The huddled shadows of men, wrapped mummy-like in white cotton against the cold, caught in pre-dawn headlights in the dust of a Rajasthani dirt road. The glow, the confidence of village girls confronting strangers, westerners, for the first time. Too young, perhaps to realize that their fate will likely be the same as that of the veiled, cloistered old widow who watches us from the shadows of the mud and thatch courtyard. We’ve heard their stories, listened to their voices, their music, their hopes, and it’s poured over us into that too full well of unforgettable memories from which we can draw only that swirling sense of life, wonder, and if anything else, gratitude.

Inbound to Bangalore at the moment, by the way. I’m on official company business at this point, and will be spending the week behind a desk, rather than roaming down dusty Rajasthani roads, so I’m hoping (hah!) to have time to write up some of the past week’s activities.

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