Zohreh Sadeghi India and Beyond

i dream…

I’ve been in South India in a beautiful little village surrounded by mountains for the past week doing my Ayurvedic detox or Panchakarma, a ritual I have promised myself to do once a year. It’s been an amazing experience thus far that I cannot even begin to describe in words. It’s been physically challenging but very profound and deeply spiritual. The most amazing phenomenon I’ve been taking note of are my dreams. I don’t remember dreaming this much ever in my life before. I have dreams every night and they are extremely vivid as if they’re happening right in front of my eyes and when I wake up I feel confused and for a second can’t tell my reality from my dream.

The first few nights my dreams were very disturbing as they were mostly about war, gunfires, fear, me running away from people and even one night I had a dream someone had broken into this little apartment I’m staying at right now trying to crawl in bed with me. It was horrifying, he had his arms around me so tight I couldn’t breathe and I started to struggle to get out and all of a sudden I woke up and there was no one beside me. I was glad it was just a dream!

Last night however I had one of the most amazing dreams I’ve had in a long time. Someone broke into my apartment again and hearing the door unlock my heart started beating so fast and I was immediately scared, then the person got closer and walked towards my bed slowly, stroked my hair and my arm gently. I knew that touch I thought. It felt familiar, it felt friendly, it was filled with love. I moved slightly and the voice said “Hi azizam, it’s me, mom, I’m here for you, don’t be afraid of anything, I’m here for you now.” My fear suddenly disappeared and was replaced with love. My mom got in bed with me, held me in her arms and continued to stroke my arm while smiling at me. I never looked at her face but I could feel her smiling. I woke up and was in tears when I realized it was just a dream, why couldn’t it be reality? Why couldn’t my mom be in bed with me? It was such a profound dream and it filled my heart with love!

What is it about moms that they have the ability touch your heart in a way that no other human being on earth could? There’s not enough great things I could say about my mom, seriously, she’s remarkable. My mother is one of the most amazing human beings that has ever lived. And I’m not the only one who believes that, whoever comes in contact with her can see her shining light and feel her incredible energy immediately. I am who I am today because of her! She’s my number one support in life, she’s always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. She’s always supported me even when I had the craziest ideas like quitting my job and packing my bags to go live in India. She’s never asks me “why” instead she always says “follow your heart Zohreh, you have a strong intuition, trust in yourself.”

I love you mom. I love you more than words can describe. I love you more than I love anything else or anyone else in this world. You are my rock. You are my life. You are my hero, my role model, and my biggest supporter and for that I am forever indebted to you. I adore you with all my being. I am so happy you exist!!

 

Inspiration…

Inspiration comes in many forms and from many different sources. If we open our eyes and look deeper there’s inspiration all around us in this world. If we listen a bit more carefully each day, we can hear inspiration floating around in the air. I love reading inspirational poetry and quotes on a daily basis to keep my mind positive. I also love going through art and design blogs daily for visual inspiration. No matter how busy or crazy my day gets I always make time to fit a little bit of inspiration into my day. I’d like to share a few with you all:

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Oscar Wilde

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that have you built against it.” Rumi

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi

“I have no special talents. I’m only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein

“When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.” Arundhati Roy

“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” Alan Watts

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi

“The heart is a thousand-stringed instrument that can only be tuned with Love.” Hafiz

Don’t forget to: Live. Laugh. Be happy. Be silly. Be positive. Enjoy every moment :)

A reflection on my life

I have been in India for the past couple of weeks now and been so happy ever since I arrived. Today I got to thinking about life, my happiness and myself and why it is that I feel so happy when I’m here. What is it about this land that makes me forget about everything in life and just enjoy the moment? Why is it that I can’t get enough of this land? Why is it that I could be so happy here and not as happy when in Los Angeles? Yes the two places are completely different but they do have some things in common, they are both big, crazy and over populated and it’s always a hassle getting from point A to B. So why is it that I can’t feel the same happiness when I’m in LA?

I came up with some answers, a few that explained why I feel the way I do. First and foremost I think I have absolutely no expectations from my life when I’m here and none of myself. When I’m here expectations are out the door and instead I have experiences, real life changing experiences on a daily basis. Every time I come here I let go of everything and I live my life day by day, I go with the flow. I think that’s one of the main reasons I’m so happy here cause when we have expectations from someone or somewhere there’s always a possibility of being disappointed. But when we go into anything without having any expectations at all, we will never be disappointed. Disappointment is one of the key factors leading to unhappiness in my mind.

Second I take India for what it is, all of it, I accept it with all my heart and see the beauty even in its flaws. I accept it all and don’t want to change any of it. I haven’t accepted LA for what it is; I haven’t truly opened my heart to the city even though I thought I had. I see the flaws in LA and they bother me and I can’t get myself to accept them but why? My whole body rejects LA whereas my whole body welcomes and accepts India with warmth and love.

It is of course true that we feel different in different cities, some cities we just connect with and feel at home in and others not so much. I don’t like LA but that shouldn’t matter or wouldn’t matter if I were truly content inside, I should be able to be happy anywhere, right?

I did find some answers but not all of them, all I know is that I love it here, I would live here if I could, live a simple life here in India for the rest of my life. Life is simple here, not easy but simple. There’s a distinct difference, this country is quiet challenging and there are number of factors that challenge you on a daily basis but there’s always an easy solution to it all: give in and let go! That’s the main principle that rules this country, if you give in, it will all eventually figure itself out and you’ll get your answers. In some ways I think that’s the answer to all the challenges life throws our way no matter where we are. Learning to let go might be the hardest challenge of all but the most rewarding as well!

I still don’t have all the answers, but do we ever?!

Dubai to Bangalore

I had a long 8 hour layover in Dubai. At the airport I met this woman, she was sitting next to me waiting for the same flight to Bangalore, she was Iranian and started talking to me. I had heard her on the phone earlier and she had an accent unfamiliar to me when she spoke Farsi so I knew she wasn’t from Tehran. She told me she was Rashti (a city in Northern Iran by the Caspian sea). She was very hyper and very happy. She spoke really fast and never seemed to get tired of talking. She asked me lots of questions, lots of uncomfortable and awkward questions that were so personal I was totally taken back. I answered a few but ignored the rest. She was strange but I kind of liked her, she seemed honest.

Her name was Mina, she was going to visit her son who was studying Dentistry in Bangalore. She had two sons, one 18 and other one 16 and a loving husband who would not stop calling her, he called every 30 min from the moment I met her till the moment we parted ways and this whole process took hours which I will explain below.

On the plane I sat next to this Indian guy, younger looking maybe late 20s, early 30s. We didn’t speak a word for a very long time, the first 2h hours of the flight basically, which is unusual for me but after Mina I just didn’t have it in me to entertain any more questions about my life and myself, socializing could be exhausting at times. So I remained silent and watched Frankenweenie.

I don’t exactly remember at what point we began talking or what triggered the conversation but we did and we had a great conversation, it flowed naturally, no pressure, no tough questions just sharing thoughts and stories. His name was Anil, a very tall broad shouldered Indian guy who was originally from Bangalore but had been living in Houston for the past 5 years or so.

Once we got off the plane, I introduced my 2 new buddies to each other and we decided to share a cab. I had a 12 hour layover ahead of me so my plan was to go to a nice hotel in Bangalore, get some breakfast and just hang out in the lobby or the coffee shop and work on my final exam for school or just write. Anil was headed to his sister’s house and Mina to her son’s. 5 minute into our cab ride Anil turned around and asked me if I’d liked to go to his sister’s and just rest there instead of a hotel lobby. It was such a sweet gesture and I didn’t even think twice about it, I accepted the invitation. This is the thing about going with your gut, it never lies to you, I knew from the moment I met him that he was a gentleman and I knew he would prove it.

And so he did! He offered to pay for the entire cab fare. Mina constantly talked during the whole ride, I was beyond exhausted, my eyes were burning from lack of sleep and I had trouble concentrating or focusing on anything. She told me about her 2 houses, one in Rasht, one in Tehran, she told me about the dresses she sews for herself and even showed me pictures, she told me about her sons, her life, her marriage, her husband (who was now calling every 10 minutes or so). As much as I liked her and didn’t mind listening to her, I needed a moment of silence to just rest my eyes. But I wasn’t going to be rude to her while she was so sweet to me so I listened, and listened and listened…

After an hour and a half of driving through Bangalore traffic, we dropped her off. She kept telling me how much she liked me and that she never had a daughter and I was now her new daughter. She gave me her information and told me I needed to see her when I was in Bangalore at the end of December, no question about it. And once Anil offered to pay for the cab fare, she invited him and me to have a vegetarian Persian meal at her house upon my return. After we dropped her off the rest of the ride was in silence, I needed that.

We arrived at Anil’s sister’s house, she was at college and had left the keys with a neighbor. It was a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment that reminded me so much of my apartment in Kerala, it made me sad, reminded me of how much I miss those days living in Kannur with Marta.

Anil asked me if I was hungry and was ready to eat lunch, I wanted to treat him since he was being so nice to me but he said “no, no, my neighbor has prepared something for us.” Here’s the thing about India, it might seem crazy, cruel, heartless, a dog-eat-dog world when you’re actually out in the streets trying to battle pollution, traffic, sleazy rickshaw drivers, all the noise, dirt, etc. but deep down it’s a country built on love. People are so full of love they are willing to open their houses and their hearts to you immediately and this is exactly what Anil did for me after having met me for just a few hours. He was such a gentleman and his neighbor, a young Indian woman, was so sweet. The amazing homemade south Indian fare arrived, it was set on the table and I insisted I wanted to eat with my hands, I had missed that!

So we sat down and had an amazing lunch together, rice, upadam, sambar, curd, mango pickle, dal and some other little side dishes. It was exactly what I needed. I found out Anil had 2 siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. He showed me a picture of them with great pride.

Anil didn’t let me touch the dishes or even take them to the kitchen once we were done eating. He kept saying that I was the guest in his house and my job was to eat and relax. All I wanted to do was lay down, he showed me to a room, a small and super clean room with freshly washed sheets on the bed, I could smell the laundry detergent. I told him I was just going to rest my eyes but the minute my head hit the pillow I passed out and slept for 2 solid hours. It was wonderful! I was greeted with a hot cup of tea when I woke up, it was very sweet.

At around 4:30 it was time for me to head back the airport, the same driver who had brought us home from the airport came to pick me up. We got talking this time, he was a sweet guy. His name was John Abraham, a 32 year old Christian Bangalore native. How do I know all of this? Well the thing about India is people ask you many private questions and they usually expect a very straight forward answer in return, it’s either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ and if you give them anything else they will be disappointed. Mr John asked me if I was a Christian to which I responded by saying I respected all religions and believed in God, he didn’t like the respond of course but nodded and wiggled his head nonetheless. He then told me he was Christian and his name was John Abraham, funny name for a little Indian dude I thought. Then he proceeded to ask me about my age and he told me his in return. So we got pretty intimate really fast.

He was such a nice person this John Abraham, he told me about his life and how he had been driving a taxi for the past 12 years, he didn’t love it nor did he enjoy sitting in Bangalore’s hideous traffic everyday but his father was very sick. According to him he had 2 incidents of bad food poisoning that led to some surgeries. Now I don’t think that’s the case, I have never heard of food poisoning leading to a serious surgery, I just think John’s English wasn’t strong enough to find the right medical term for his father’s condition in English. He said he takes care of his father and needs to make money to pay the hospital bills.

He asked me what I did for a living, I told him I was a student, he smiled and said “you look like… not student… like businesswoman, manager maybe.” Well this came to me as a surpirse given I was wearing my black and yellow slightly hard rock top with black skulls all over it, black leggings and Toms. I have never seen a businesswoman dress like I do, but maybe in India things are different!

I really liked John, he said he wanted to come pick me up from the airport when I came back at the end of December, so he told me to ask Anil to call him. I agreed since I couldn’t think of anyone better to drive me around Bangalore. Anil, Mina and I had decided we would reunite upon my return so this would work out perfectly. When we arrived at the airport, my meter read 860 Rupees (it’s a lot but Bangalore’s new airport is outside of the city and a good 2 hour drive in traffic), I gave him 900 and told him to keep the change. He insisted on giving it back to me couple of times until I said keep the money and use it towards your dad’s medical bills. He smiled and accepted it. 40 Rupees isn’t even a dollar, and what good would I be if I couldn’t spare a dollar to a person in need?

Great thing about traveling solo is meeting all kinds of people that you happen to cross paths with. The thing is all the people I meet whether they’re loud and slightly obnoxious, calm, cool and collected, or compassionate like the driver John at the end of day are just another human being who have their own story to tell and I for one am interested in hearing their stories!

On the way to India

I had a long and exhausting 16 hour flight to Dubai. I had a window seat and next to me sat this really cute but loud older Gujarati couple. They were sweet and immediately started talking to me. The lady barely looked at me at first and kept putting her head down and giggling as if she’s a 16 year old teenager who’s seeing her suitor for the first time and she actually kind of likes him to her surprise. First words out of her mouth were “you’re pretty” followed by the husband saying “yes yes so pretty”, and she continued “yes, so so so pretty, my god”. At this point I was blushing and felt a little awkward so I attempted to change the subject by talking about the weather in Los Angeles, lame attempt I know, who cared about the weather in LA, we were leaving LA after all!
His name was Pravin and hers Vibha. They lived in Los Angeles, he for the past 40 years and she I have no idea, it never came up. It seemed they had married at an older age and they had one child, an adopted daughter I believe. They asked about my profession and the reason I was headed to India. And they of course knew all about Ayurveda. Pravin was a Leukemia survivor, a short bald man with large eyes and rather small glasses. There was a nervous energy about him, he seemed anxious all the times. He couldn’t stop moving around on the plane and constantly wanted to eat. The Ayurvedic practitioner in me immediately diagnosed him as having too much Vata in the mind and too much Pitta in his digestive tract. He seemed uncomfortable at all times.
Vibha on the other hand had a very soothing demeanor, she seemed very nice and relaxed and smiled all the times. Well this was until she was given her meal which she had specified as a “Hindu meal” not knowing it didn’t necessarily mean a vegetarian meal, at least not on Emirates, she was strictly a vegetarian so when the plate of chicken with shrimp salad was put in front of her she lost her cool and demanded the flight attendants to remove the food immediately. Poor thing I never judged her for her behavior, I understood! I probably would have done the same thing but I’ve only been a vegetarian for a few years and she all her life, she was born one and she was a practicing Hindu and very religious. I took a glimpse of the inside of her purse when she lifted it to take some things out she had books after books with Ganesha, Ram, Krishna on the cover, plus some other Gods unknown to me. And she attempted to talk to me about their stories many times, I listened to most of what she was saying but understood only half, her English was very poor.
Pravin opened up to me later asking for my help! He told me he had trouble sleeping at nights and that he always had fear and anxiety on the mind, he was always fearful of something. I asked him where the root of it was and how long ago had it started. He told me he’s been having these issues ever since he started doing Chemotherapy and radiation. His voice just dropped the minute he said Chemo, my heart stopped for a moment. I felt his sadness, for one split moment I was inside his brain and his heart feeling his pain, my heart started to hurt. I just sat there and listened. Vibha had gone to take another empty seat that was more comfortable so it was just me and him. He kept asking for my help but I felt helpless. Here was this man, a cancer survivor reaching out to me and yet I couldn’t help him, all I could do was listen to him. I was not about to take his pulse and recommend any herbs to him eventhough in my mind I knew exactly what could help him, I knew the names of the herbs and kept repeating them to myself but I couldn’t take the risk. I didn’t know his body type and his entire history, who knows how he would react to my herbs? So at the end I just gave him some recommendations, a few Yoga postures, some Pranayama practices, meditation and lots of Chamomile tea before bed time. And I told him he should see an Ayurvedic doctor either in India or LA!
When Vibha came back, Pravin started speaking with her, they were talking Gujarati so I didn’t understand a thing but I could tell he was in pain. He was suffering from back pain. She put a pillow on her lap and told him to rest his head on it, he did just that and what came next was pure love. It was so much love it brought tears to my eyes. She started stroking his bald head, eventually turning her strokes into perfect circles going around his head over and over and over. She had a smile on her face the whole time she was doing it. It was such a beautiful sight I couldn’t look away. It’s witnessing moments like this that makes one hopeful true love does exist and the world is not all bad. People could love each other unconditionally and be there for each other, it could happen!
Half way through the flight I started developing this sharp stomach pain, it happens to me every time I fly. It was terrible and kept getting worse to a point I couldn’t sit still anymore and I couldn’t carry on a conversation. I spoke to the flight attendants and they gave me couple of pain killers and a hot water bottle. I was standing at the back of the plane holding the hot water bottle to my stomach and drinking hot water looking miserable when this older man decided to stand next to me and start a conversation. I was not feeling it let me tell you, I was in so much pain I could hardly speak. He constantly asked me questions about my profession, where I lived, etc. I didn’t want to be rude and walk away so I stood there and went along with it trying to keep a smile on my face. It wasn’t easy and at some point I told him that I was sorry I wasn’t very talkative cause I was in pain, he completely ignored my comment and carried on with his conversation. A flight attendant passed by and gave me a smile. After a 10 minute long and painful conversation I finally decided to move to the other side of the plane so I excused myself and made my escape. That same flight attendant came to me and smiled and told me she knew I didn’t want to talk to that guy, she saw it in my eyes. I laughed, I guess us women can communicate with each other through our eyes and our eyes only, it must be some sort of a universal language for all female species. I feel like I should write a book about it and title it “What lies beneath her eyes” or something like that!

My poor little Rabbit is hurt.

I got into a car accident a few days ago, not an awful one just a minor crash. I still felt the impact from the accident on my neck and shoulders and I’m still in pain and sore even 4 days past the accident. I was driving alone in the rain when I all of a sudden got hit from behind, it’s never a pleasant feeling. I wish I could say this was my first accident but unfortunately this was the third time in my life I got rear ended. First time was the worst, I was 18 years old and was given a brand new car, my very first car as a birthday present from my amazing parents. I was driving to see my boyfriend at the time, all excited and happy when I all of a sudden got hit. It was terrible, my car was totaled, I was in bed unable to move for weeks, it was just a mess. I luckily survived the accident, it was pure luck cause the other car, a big giant Ford Explorer, had hit me so hard that my car was completely destroyed and I am so thankful I had no one in my backseat or else…

Anyhow this accident was a smaller one, my car still got damaged, my beautiful little Rabbit that I’ve had for years now and wouldn’t change for the world. I was pissed and really frustrated once it happened. But I tried to keep cool and not get angry at the guy who had hit me. He was so nervous and stressed out. His car was brand new, he didn’t have full coverage on his insurance and I felt so bad for him. The moment I saw a car seat in his car I knew I had to be nice to him, he was a father after all.

I was contacted by both insurance companies and was asked if I wanted to sue or a get a lawyer by my own insurance company. I initially thought I should do it so I could make enough money to get my car fixed, get a rental and get physical therapy sessions. But something inside of me didn’t agree with it. I kept remembering the guy’s face and how stressed out he looked when the accident had happened. I kept remembering how he didn’t have coverage to fix his own car and had I decided to sue he would be in a bigger mess than he already was with his insurance. I couldn’t get myself to do it so I decided against it. No lawyers for me. I’m happy as long as my car is fixed. God knows I could use some extra cash right now but I don’t want it this way, not at someone else’s expense.

So here I am dealing with the logistics of a car accident, it’s never fun, rather annoying indeed. Lots of phone calls and lots of sitting around waiting for people to get things done or show up to tow your car which is what I’m doing precisely at this moment, waiting for a tow truck that was supposed to come over an hour ago. I guess this is life, these annoying obstacles are meant to teach us patience as well as compassion not only towards ourselves but for other human beings as well. After all how would our world look without compassion? Without patience and understanding?

So I sit and wait…

I love you Yogi tea

I’m a sucker for amazing uplifting quotes and yes I am totally one of those people who has subscribed to pages like “positive energy” and “art of living” on Facebook. Aside from reading a little poetry on a daily basis, I love spending a little time reading beautiful quotes everyday. They sometimes have a magical effect on me, they really do! So you can imagine my excitement when I found out Yogi tea has these wonderful positive messages hanging from their teabags. I discovered this couple of years ago, and been addicted to Yogi tea ever since but not just any flavor, my favorite is ginger. You will always find it at my apartment, I even take it with me when I travel.

This morning my ginger tea had an exceptionally powerful message inside, one that not only moved me but made me think at the same time. And I’d like to share it with you all! This message applies to all of us, every single human being.

Coconut oil story

So my auntie had a small jar of organic coconut oil we had bought together, I told her to get it so she could cook with it for my little cousins. Last week I came to her house and she asked me if coconut oil evaporates if it’s just sitting somewhere, I was shocked by the question and for a second doubted my aunt’s intelligence but then realized that couldn’t be it, this woman always graduated top of her class and was one of the smartest people I knew. So I asked her why she would think that. She showed me the jar, it was almost empty, there was maybe a teaspoon left on the bottom. She said she hadn’t really used it since the day we had bought it, she just put in the cabinet and forgot about it. Weeks later she remembered she had coconut oil so she went to grab it and found the jar almost empty.

We stood there for a few minutes trying to come up with possible scenarios that would explain the almost empty jar, we had nothing! We went back and forth, she said she had asked her husband if he had been using it and the answer was negative. I suggested maybe my grandpa was secretly using it, well that was a ridiculous suggestion so we both laughed. And my two little cousins? No way, they wouldn’t even know what it was! So we never came up with an answer. The mystery remained.

Today I went to her house and she told me she had solved the puzzle and had indeed found the coconut oil thief. A few days ago my aunt called my little cousin Arya to go upstairs so she could help him with his homework. He ran upstairs and sat down in front of my aunt with greasy hands that left marks on his book. My aunt was shocked and asked him about the oil on his hands. He confessed there and then. All this time he was in fact the one stealing coconut oil! He loved it so much he would go to the cabinet everyday with a little teaspoon (or sometimes just his fingers) and would eat a spoonful right out of the jar. And he was afraid to tell his mom cause he thought he’d get in trouble for it, he usually gets in trouble for eating things that are too tasty, of course!

I have never met another child who enjoys eating oil by itself, well I don’t think I have even met an adult who likes doing that! Who does that? Well Arya I guess…

I thought this was such a cute story not to share! I’m spreading my Ayurvedic ways one household at a time or one small child at a time I should say :)

Family matters

This is why I came back home…

“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”

I spent a magical week with the ones I love in Thailand. It was so great seeing everyone, seeing my family and my best friend. Our trip was truly amazing; we spent a few days in Bangkok and then headed over to the beautiful island of Krabi where we rented a villa with a private pool and enjoyed ourselves as much as we could.

Something major happened when I was in Thailand, something that could probably change the rest of my life. I made a decision that I wasn’t expecting at all. Seeing my family reminded me of how much I had missed them, of how much I loved being around them, laughing with them, crying with them, and just being myself around them. I remembered how wonderful my family is and how much I love them. I couldn’t imagine being away from them again; I couldn’t imagine saying bye to them… so I decided to go back to the States. Just like that, in a matter of minutes I made my decision and it felt so natural. It was the strangest thing. I wasn’t deciding with my heart or with my brain but just went with my gut feeling. Whenever I ignored my gut in the past, I suffered and made the wrong decision. I just knew I had to go back home. I spent a few hours in front of my computer searching for Ayurveda programs in the States, my mom and my friend Julie joined in and searched with me.

It all happened so quickly, it came out of nowhere but it made everyone so happy. I found many great schools in the States, and within few hours I narrowed my search down to 3 schools offering either a Masters or a doctorate degree in Ayurveda: one in Florida, one in Beverly Hills and another one in New Mexico. I immediately emailed my university in India informing them I wouldn’t attend class and that I needed to withdraw. I felt great, powerful and so sure after I made my decision until I got back to India.

As we had planned, my mom, brother and I arrived in Bombay after we left Thailand. The moment we landed I felt so heavy, so sad all of a sudden. I felt like I had come home to my beloved India, but I knew I’d only have 5 days here. There was still so much I wanted to do, see, and feel in India.

My heart is split, I’ve left it in 2 places and having to decide which one to pick is nearly impossible. I can’t describe exactly why I love India, words can’t really express how I feel about this land but I just know that I deeply and truly love it here. I love the people, I love the simplicity, and I love the challenges. I love this land; I love its hot and humid weather even though I can’t stand it. I love its spicy food even though I know it’s not good for my body. I love eating with my hands, I love walking into a super market with very few choices, I love taking 12 hour train rides from one city to the next, and most of all, I love the people. I love it when they wiggle their heads, I love it when they add “itself” or “only” to every sentence even if it doesn’t make any sense. I love it that they say some words twice to emphasize the importance of the subject matter “Ma’am these shirts are all different different prices.” Or “the vegetarian set menu comes in small small portions.”

But I love my family too much. I want to be there to hear about Tina’s night out with her girlfriends, I want her to wake me up when she gets home at 2 AM to tell me about her night, about the lame guys who hit on her and about the cheesy pick up lines she had to hear all night. I want to be there for my mom, when she comes back from work feeling sad because she just found out her patient had died due to overdose. I want to be the first to hear about it, to hug her and lend her a shoulder to cry on. I want to be there when my brother Ehsan learns a new Japanese dish and cooks it for everyone, I want to be at the dinner table with them all. I don’t want to miss out on the precious little moments anymore, I don’t want to grow apart from my family only because I’m not physically there. I want to be near them at all times.

I have 2 more days in India! I can’t believe it. I’m extremely heart broken, I keep reliving my past 7 months, and I keep remembering when I first arrived here in this land, when I met Marta, my amazing Italian roommate and how quickly we became sisters. I keep remembering my Ayurveda program, all the medicines we made during class, and how I slowly fell in love with Ayurveda. I loved being in class everyday. I keep remembering all the wonderful people I met along the way, all the wonderful food I tried, wonderful shops I went to regularly. I remember Kannur, lovely Kannur, a big city in Kerala but just a small village for me. I remember Marta and I walking the streets talking, laughing and drinking coconut water. All I have with me now are my memories. I’m not ready to leave this land, this country I fell in love with but I’m ready to be with my family again, to be there for them when they need me and to have them there when I need them. I’m deep down happy and excited but I believe I need to go through this period of grief for my beloved India.

Sometimes you just know what the right decision is but it doesn’t make it easier at all. I know the right decision for me is to study Ayurveda and to be close to my family. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss India. I have promised myself to come back to India every chance I get, every break from school.

Now I will go and enjoy my last 2 days in one of my most favorite cities in the world!

← Before