Zohreh Sadeghi India and Beyond

Adios Kerala…

I packed my bags and left Kannur last week. I had accumulated so many books, clothes, oils, containers, etc in the past 3 months that my mom and I ended up checking in 2 overweight suitcases and taking 8 bags onto the plane without paying any extra fees. I don’t know how we did but in India anything is possible. We were able to walk onto the plane holding 4 bags each, 2 of which were filled with books totaling around 10 kilos. If my mom hadn’t come to Kannur there was no way I could pack everything and move all that luggage on my own. She was an enormous help not only with the luggage but she was also there for me emotionally and I needed that. Leaving Kannur was extremely difficult for me, change is always hard but this one in particular hit me really hard since I had such a great time with Marta and Kannur had become our home.

We arrived in Delhi where my dad was awaiting our arrival impatiently. He had checked into a hotel for us and I had no idea what to expect. One thing you need to know about my dad is that he loves luxury, you’d never know by just looking at him because he dresses very simple, doesn’t drive a fancy car and doesn’t like to show off at all. But when it comes to traveling he loves to indulge and enjoy himself so he had booked us 2 rooms at the Taj Mahal hotel in New Delhi which I was about to find out was one the fanciest hotels in India. I was wearing my very old washed out clothes looking pretty dirty and tired. And instead of getting the expensive taxi with the AC at the airport I told my mom we should get a cheap prepaid taxi, one of those 20 year old Indian cars with a super old engine that makes these strange loud sounds.

As we got closer to the hotel I knew we were in trouble, the neighborhood was so beautiful and clean and looked totally posh. I felt like I could be anywhere, Paris, Milan, San Francisco, anywhere but India. The India I had seen so far looked nothing like Delhi. Delhi is a big cosmopolitan city just like any other big city, it has nice big roads filled with cars and taxis, shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops everywhere. It was way less green than Kerala of course, all I saw on that drive from the airport to the hotel was cars, cars, and more cars driving on big highways and roads. In Kerala, the national highway consisted of a narrow 2 lane road that had pits and holes and speed bumps within every few miles.

Our loud taxi pulled up the hotel. This hotel was giant, totally luxurious filled with lush colors and textures from the fabrics on the curtains to the art on the walls to the Sarees hotel staff were wearing. It looked like a palace. It was beautiful honestly but I felt so out of place. I was wearing my very simple black shirt that I have worn over a hundred times in the past 3 months with my orange Indian pants that make me look like I have baby diapers in my pants with a pair of slippers that are so dirty I don’t even remember what their original color was. And on top of that we had way too much luggage, and not fancy Louis Vuitton suitcases that I saw around the hotel, our consisted of Whole Foods and Trader Joes grocery bags. Yes I was very embarrassed, I just wanted to get inside the room and never come out.

I thought I’d enjoy a bit of luxury after living in a small city for 3 months where options were limited when it came to food, shopping, and everything else in general. But I quickly found out I was a changed woman, I think I had started changing way before but the drastic change happened after my 3 months in Kannur. I now appreciate the simple life, I appreciate the comfort of it and the stress free nature of it. The more options and choices we have in this world, the harder it will be for us to make decisions. Imagine a life where you walked into Whole Foods and it only consisted of 6 aisles total and if you wanted yogurt, there was only one kind so you never really had to think about which brand to buy, you’d just walk up to the aisle, grab your yogurt and go home. Imagine how much time you could save? This is so lame that I’m trying to make my point by giving an example of a grocery store but I love grocery shopping. To me it’s fun and exciting to walk through each and every aisle, pick up every box, read the label carefully and then pick the one I like the most out of all the other options. No one likes to go grocery shopping with me because I could be in the store for an hour or two easily. But in Kannur I was in and out within 15 minutes. I thought I’d miss my old ways but I didn’t and I was quiet satisfied with my new grocery shopping style in which I saved so much time that I actually had extra time to get home early enough to cook dinner.

The week I spent in Delhi was a constant battle for me. I liked the city and loved the fact that I was spending every waking hour with my parents but I felt so guilty eating at fancy restaurants where a simple Indian entrée could cost up to 1200 Rupees. My lunch cost me 18 Rupees in Kannur and it was just as good and satisfying. I also didn’t find the city as interesting as I had hoped. To me Delhi is a city without character, it lacks personality and charm and there’s nothing exciting about it. It’s a clean city (well not all parts of it) filled with good looking people who dress up and look put together at all times. I also really got sick of the hotel staff being overly attentive and trying to carry my bags, opening doors and constantly calling me “ma’am”. I lost my patience towards the end and just told them straight up I didn’t need their help so I carried my own bags, opened my own doors and served my own food. Do people actually enjoy that? Do people enjoy having someone else doing things for them all the times? Well I’m sure there are people who love that or the hotel wouldn’t be packed every day and night with travelers coming and going. I know I won’t be going back for sure.

After a week in Delhi, I couldn’t wait to get back to nature, to the beach and to the simple way of life. So I decided to come to Goa, not the touristy over the top Goa but the more quiet remote beaches of Goa. Marta and Emanuel (her boyfriend) have been traveling in India for the past week and we all thought of meeting here in south Goa in Palolem beach. I arrived here a day before they did and found a very nice simple resort by the beach. I love this resort, it’s nothing fancy, just a basic room with a bed in it. It’s not really a resort or a hotel but more like a group of cottages for rent. It’s gorgeous here, weather is lovely cause we always get the breeze from the ocean, food is delicious and cheap and best part is it’s quiet and not crowded with tourists, fancy coffee shops, clubs, bars, etc. It’s very calm and relaxing and that’s exactly what I need right now. I want to enjoy the peace, go kayaking, swimming, read, write and just relax for a week. Everybody here is clearly on vacation, so they just sit around, read, chat with each other and do nothing else. It’s pretty great!


2 Comments

Zohreh joonam,

I really hope you keep writing. I can not explain the joy and happiness that reading your posts brought to my daily life. Can really see the day that these beautiful posts are gathered in a beautifully designed and illustrated book and can’t WAIT to get my hands on an autographed copy!

Lots of Love,
Roshi

Posted by Roshi on 1 June 2011 @ 7pm

I LOVE YOU ROSHIIIIIIIII JOOOOONAM. Your words always bring a smile to my face. I will keep writing I promise :)

Posted by zohreh on 4 June 2011 @ 6am

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