I was five when I first saw the Gateway of India located in Colaba, Bombay opposite that other famous edifice, the Taj Mahal Hotel. Fighting through the crowds on the unforgiving local trains, my parents and extended cousins had travelled in all the way from the suburb of Andheri, an hour’s journey on one of Bombay’s notorious local trains. Knee-to-knee, the entire vestibule moved in sync with the swaying motion of the vessel. Sweat dripped down my back onto my favourite pink candy-floss dress. I wiped it away impatiently, relieved to step off the train, onto the crowded Victoria Terminus, and then finally sighed with delight to breathe in the tangy sea air of the Arabian sea.
Gateway of India & The Taj Mahal hotel
I was shocked by my first conversation with British Gas, till I realised that I had exchanged the red tape of India for the real thing. I had truly come to the source of the triplicate—Great Britain. This is why the British always considered India the jewel in the crown. At heart we are the same. We love formality, ceremony—the layers. The process is more important than the end. Bizarrely that is what the Buddha teaches, that the journey that is important, not the result. After that I relaxed. I really had come home.
The West is the new East is the West
Have you had a similar experience? Would love to hear from you.