I ruffle through the leaves of my memories of the last three months to find this one word to describe the feeling …suspended…in space, in time, in thought, in feeling, in emotion, in action, inside. The efforts to quell the insatiable urge to find that peace within are nothing but a mere joke. While emotions ebb and flow as to the relevance and necessity of my presence in a world so different than my own, I find myself frozen sometimes, struggling to find the origin of myself and my thoughts.
"Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself." – James Allen.
I believe that I am at the commencement stage of this revelation that James Allen speaks of. If I were one who possessed an atrocious mental complacency, this torrent of thoughts would cease to flow constantly and I would float from one environment to another, with no sentiment toward my surroundings. But the perpetual simmering of thoughts, deep within, to find the true meaning of self and the journey that one embarks on to find it, refuses to allow even a moment's rest to the weary mind and soul.
"The awakening of the conscience is the grandeur of the Soul." – Charles A. Callis.
From the moment I have set foot in the land of India, there have been many awakenings of my conscience…I am unsure if these awakenings have begun to unveil the grandeur of my soul. But this is only the initiation of what is to come. Being bombarded from all sides with life, here in India, I begin to wonder if I will ever find my feet on solid ground. I go through the motions of living and breathing and existing in a world that is throbbing and pulsing with life; bursting at its seams to contain the "old" and bring in the "new". Having had no gradual induction into this way of life, I find myself regularly asking the question, "why?" only to be faced with ludicrously inadequate replies to appease the curious mind.
In this nouveau riche country that India has morphed into, no matter how hard I have sought to find it, there is no shred of evidence, that the possession of greater wealth has brought more happiness to its inhabitants. It appears to have liberated the few who are prone to pondering life's meaning and enslaved many who are blinded by the flash of instantaneous riches. In this cornucopia arises the question, "Is India prepared for this influx of material wealth?"
I glance at the sea of faces that flow past me everyday – in the streets, on the trains, in stores, in cars, on motorcycles – and I search for a glimpse of their soul in their eyes. They seem be filled with thoughts of possibilities and impossibilities of obtaining more material wealth; some are gaunt; some are glaring; some are lost in thought – but everyone seems to want more…with the sudden grand entrance of a larger income, the possibilities of greater possessions is no longer a dream but a reality.
A reality that they are completely unprepared to handle, but a reality nonetheless. Although the country is still in its infancy stages of a materialistic glamour revolution, these newly rich masses waste no time in keeping up with the Kumars. In a perusal of a featured article on the internet, I came across this statement, "In this strongly stratified society, where the differentiations of caste, class, religion, and birthplace still linger, consumerism can in some ways act as a means of maintaining clear lines."
Through personal experience, I choose to support this statement to a certain extent. Although, it is sometimes difficult to tell the class or the caste due to the fact that even the poor show off their access to this new wealth. This is usually reflected in their possession of the best mobile technology, the nicer cars and fully loaded, the wearing of modern apparel, etc. So the line between the classes for superficial purposes becomes somewhat blurry.
In a country where yoga and meditation centers are popping up everywhere like hotdog stands, where spirituality and the search for the meaning of life is outwardly perpetuated by the number of temples, mosques, churches and other random buildings of worship but in reality, one's social status and wealth takes precedence easily over the quest for the holy grail, how does one rise above the noise and find the nucleus of one's soul? I begin to wonder how many are actually looking for that core, to solidify their true essence as a human being in an environment that seems to be swept up in the great flood of capitalistic growth.
Distinct lanes drawn on roads for driving purposes fail to alert the masses that order is necessary. The color of your skin dictates the amount of money you pay for consumer goods – it is affectionately called the "white skin tax". The performance of any kind deed or what appears to be a kind deed to one, is always punctuated with an outstretched hand and an expectation of monetary compensation. Finding all things necessary for consumption under one roof is a myth. Bigotry is still fresh and thriving in rural parts of the country. Domination and degradation of women is also a real, live active movement in some parts of India. Freedom to choose whom to marry is a dream that most young, single adults will never realize. Customs and traditions dictate one's every move – be it in the business world or in the personal interaction with others.
I am constantly surprised at the rapid development of shopping malls, newer imported cars, large technology parks that house some giants of the IT industry, many of the country's youth being employed by BPO's ( business process outsourcing units), the slow entry of the training field, which is usually looked at with some suspicion and considered low on the priority list.
I find myself suspended in this world, functioning but unable to relate sometimes, existing but unable to explain away certain things in my head, living daily by almost being uninvolved to a certain extent, in order to function with some semblance of sanity or else, one can be overwhelmed with the desire to save them from themselves.
Although I am longing to set down some roots, I have the distinct feeling that it is not to be done here. And although the feeling of suspension with regards to my roots is very real, I look within and seek from the source of experience and the source of strength that is the core of my being.
In suspension, I am becoming more aware of who I am and what I truly stand for.