You know the feeling of homesick? We all know it. That strange feeling in your stomach, almost jittery, but somber. Hard to name, until suddenly it hits you right between the eyes. You want to click your heels like Dorothy and be back in Kansas. A strange thing happened to me the other day. Aveesh and I were in the Indian store here in Charlotte. It was a Wednesday morning, nothing exceptional was going on. Except that I normally go to the Indian store alone. Aveesh is normally on the road. But we have been blessed to have a short break in our show schedule, so he’s been here for a week, and we get to have next week together too. A regular life, where we go to the office together, come home together. It’s beautiful.
So there we were, walking into the Indian store. We opened the door, and the incense wafted out. The chanting devotional was playing in the background, the one I heard on replay last time we were in Jaipur. (The friends we stay with there have a beautiful shrine in their house, and there was devotional music dancing from the shrine almost 24 hours a day on our last visit. I am not very learned in the different deities of Hindi yet, but I gather that there was some prayer or act of devotion for which this constant music was being played.) So there we are, picking up some Turnip Pickle, Parathas, hair oil, Paneer, Turmeric, and such. And all of the sudden I am transported. It was like I expected to walk out of the Indian store, into the streets of Delhi. I guess it was the sensory overload of the incense, the smell of the spices, the music, the mouth-watering anticipation of eating the pickle. Having Aveesh with me made it seem more like we were in India, too. It was like my senses had transported me across the world, and for a brief moment, I would have sworn that I was in India. Once I acknowledged this momentary space-travel, the feelings changed from excited sensory overload, to homesick. And there I was: in the middle of Charlotte in a strip mall, homesick for India.
Those of you who know me, know that I am not from India. I am from South Carolina; born and raised Southern girl. I have long-suspected, and more recently had affirmative suspicions, that in a former life, I lived in India. There is something more than happenstance going on between me and India; I think it’s synchronicity. I married India when I married Aveesh. Though is he is the least-Indian Hindustani I have ever met, he carries so much of India with him. Now that I have travelled to his motherland, experienced her beauty, her fascination, her whirlwind of curious chaos for myself, I oftentimes think how strange the orderliness of America must be to Aveesh. And I now crave more of India’s sensory assault.
I’m not sure when our next Indian journey will be. Maybe August? But I know one thing: wherever I am, wherever I call home, I carry India with me.