Two years ago I went around the world in eight days: Hong Kong, China, Thailand, India, Germany and then home. It was a work trip but I had the pleasure of going with two colleagues that just so happened to be friends. And if we weren't friends to begin with then surely we would have been after those travels.
There is a lot about that trip that I only remember if I really think about it. The sharp sweet of a mangosteen. $18 cocktails in Hong Kong. Haggling over fake bags in China, and how the leather later dripped red dye in the rain. But what I will never forget is India, how the beauty of that country seemed to be so inextricably tangled with the pain.These women were on a pilgrimage to the Ganges to bathe in the river for some sort of holy day. We saw them while driving from Delhi to Moradabad, a trip that should've taken 2.5 hours but instead took almost ten because of the holy festival among other Indian foibles. Our Indian agent, Anuj, called the day auspicious, a word that I have never really heard used here. I wonder why.
But the people--the women were stunning in their pink and saffron saris, the men with their dark eyes, the families piled onto one scooter holding babies and grandparents as if they were simply bundles of cloth. And even when the trucks were driving straight at us with no intent of moving out of our way, we could not help but notice how pretty they were--big industrial toxic-breathed monsters decorated like marzipan princess cakes.