by Ashley, Tufts 1+4 Participant
There is a little game I enjoy playing with myself; it’s called “Let’s see how far back we can remember.” A little game that I like to play occasionally, but over the years the game has become more of a way for me to reminisce on old experiences and re-live them. Thankfully, India has gifted me many more memories to use for my future reminiscences.
Week One, India. The idea in my mind was “exploration” and I wanted to truly embody it by exploring my neighbor in hopes of becoming familiar with my new environment. By foot. This detail is crucial as I had not yet had the ability to walk with the Indian traffic. I had to check left, right, up, down, and sideways —multiple times — to be sure that I would not be met with a rickshaw, car, or motorcycle!
Once I had been able to successfully cross streets, I began to look around, and what I saw was breathtaking. As I turned corners and walked down alleyways, I saw people walking around, buying produce at local stands, animals around the trash and walking along the roads. Even though I had seen this happen in my own town, the other places I had been, there was a “newness” to it. Soon enough it became apparent that I was not from around there as the stares began piling up as I continued aimlessly roaming around.
I was very content being lost. Little did I know that the little alleyways would take me to more little alleys that would lead to a dead end. As I looked around my surroundings, I realized that I had collected a few friends along the way. There were approximately 20 small children around me who were all talking at once and shouting “Didi” to get my attention. The commotion brought out adults and then they began to ask me questions in Hindi, to which I had no way of understanding. I decided to return the way I had come from. By that point, I was overwhelmed, sweaty, and tired; the idea of exploring seemed good in my mind but my body had other thoughts. Now, looking back, getting “lost” was an adventure and being able to experience the “newness” of everyday things was magic.
I find that every moment we live through has a touch of that magic; something that we cannot find in any other experience because it is so unique to each one. It’s this magic that has the tendency to lessen as time goes on. Sure, we take pictures and look back at them every so often, but it seems that everything we do, in the hopes of remembering these moments, is futile. I constantly wish that there was a way to capture the moments the way I lived them- the emotions, the smells, the sounds. Time has a way of taking these details and twisting them around.
While time won’t do the moments justice, they are a part of me and so is the magic they carried when they happened. I do not know the next time I will get “lost” or the next time I have to relearn traffic but knowing India there will be more surprises in store. There will be more time to experience and even more time to look back at these moments throughout the course of my life. Even when the memories are a little dusty, that will be alright.