Last night, under the stars in the desert dunes of Rajastan, I laid awake for 2 good hours and wrote 67 pages of blog in my head. Now, in a dirty internet cafe within a fort, I will attempt to relive those moments and thoughts into this blog. This will likely be the last serious note I make about India and its impression on me.
It all started with a toilet and a sore throat.
Waking up, freezing cold, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night can be frightening, especially when a full bladder is luring you out from under your blanket and into the unknown. Except that on this night, Orion and his belt were waiting for me. And in that brilliant instant when I realized where I was, I immediately was awake and alert, and ready to think about the moment forever. It took me a good three minutes to convince myself that, yes, I did have to go to the bathroom that badly, and no, there was no waiting. So up I went, putting my shoes on, grabbing the tp, and heading out. Next to our six blankets on the sand were mice, scurrying out of my way. Beetles ran out of the way of mice. And for not one moment was I frightened of either.
I crawled back into bed 5 minutes later and bundled up. My throat was feeling a bit sore, and I was cursing my bad luck for getting sick on the end of my journey. But, within an instant, I stopped and really thought about it: two weeks, in one of the dirtiest countries in the world, eating God knows what, putting my fingers God knows where, and I was seriously complaining about a small sore throat (that was gone the next morning, by the way)? Here I was, laying on a cold dune, surrounded by some of the greatest people I know, worrying about the wind over my nose making me sicker and regretting my bad luck. It was at that moment that I stopped, and became immediately thankful for my amazing body and all that it does for me, and the healthy chance to be a part of a world under stars.
I have looked at those stars hundreds of times in my life. Out on the farm as a kid, on the back porches of my girlfriends' houses, and more than once on the beach with friends. I have pointed out the 'W' that makes up Cassiopia, and searched for the familiar Big Dipper countless times. On this night, I was afforded the same opportunity to do it in a world that seems a million miles away. Jono would say, 'To hell with a small world. It's a big giant world, but the people we meet and the experiences we have are no accident...' I completely agree.
When I lived in New Zealand, I often walked to work at the bar under the newly-shown night stars. As I walked towards the Sky Tower in the cool of the night, I would often look up at the beauty above and around me, and instantly be grateful for my time on Earth. I would often think of my mom, and be comforted by the fact that she too lived under those same stars. It was at this time, more than once, that the song 'Because' would come on, and it was those poignent moments that encouraged me to permanantly capture the moment, and those feeling, in one simple word printed on my wrist.
And so it was in the desert, under the stars, 100 miles shy of the borders of Pakistan, where I was reminded of this exact feeling.
There is so much more to it that cannot be captured in words, so I won't even try. But it can be said that during those hours, I was thankful for the many experiences I have, and I was thankful for every person, from my friends to my camel men, who make experiences like this happen.
And it all started with a toilet, a sore throat, and my old friend Orion.