Eyes to the sky, I sit transfixed. Up there, in the dusk-kissed sky, is a another world. A world with it's own rules, it's own freedoms, it's own Masters. Tonight, the Master of the Sky is that one. The one that is flying high above the rest, the one that has been moving, successfully in, for the kill-- all evening. The nose dips, a tiny dip, indicating to me, the virgin observer, that it's time again. The body follows suit and dives in a motion so fast and deliberate it causes my body to stiffen with anticipation, I watch, eyes adjusting against the glare of the setting sun. The world up there goes still for a moment, and I wonder how many pairs of eyes are watching in anticipation along with me. Then, the attacked goes limp, a falling leaf from meters above. The Master quickly moves away, gaining freedom with height, and somewhere in this maze of rooftops, I'm sure he smiles.
The kite fighting that ruled the skies of India never failed to captivate me. I was so fascinated by it all that Fern often had to remind me to bring my eyes back down to earth---back to the happenings on the street in front of me. Because, if I learned anything from India, it was that if you take your eyes off the road, you are bound to be run over by a car, a goat, a cow, a rickshaw, a person, a bike---and in the chance you were lucky to avoid those, surely the pile of excrement was bound to get you every time. India. Wow, India. There aren't many places that can make Bangkok seem quiet, organized, and clean--but India has done it. And India has done it well! Although our 2 week Indian adventure ultimately lacked the nature and fresh air that Fern and I were, have been, craving, it didn't stop me from falling in love with so many aspects of a country gone mad. As much as we would have liked there to be, there was, in reality, never a dull moment. My senses were in overdrive---the colors of the spices, the saris, the buildings; the delicious food smells and (of course) the less delicious smells of all those other things; the traffic sounds that never seemed to fade; the taste of some of the best food I have ever tasted (yes, of course it was street food and no, that's not an exaggeration). Many people have asked for my favourite city or favourite part of the trip--and, I hesitate every time. It's usually always a collective effort-- a build up of all the little, seemingly insignificant things that seem to latch on to my memories: the separate trains for the woman, the normalcy of declaring that "yes, we have husbands", the head wobble, the random animals on the road, the outdoor 'bathrooms', the yellow taxis that would belong on the set of a 1950's movie, the 5 cups of daily chai (served in clay pots), eating with my hands (and loving every second of it---sorry Ma), the traffic "laws", the trams, trains, and buses, the colonial buildings, the friendliness of the locals as soon as you leave the tourist trail behind, the school buses (modified rickshaws), the happenings on the street, and the markets. But, for those that insist, I'd have to say that seeing a rainbow besides the Taj Mahal on the first day of 2012 wasn't too shabby....! ;)
Fresh air will be coming in the form of a beach getaway this weekend followed by a long-awaited return trip to New Zealand this summer. (But, not before Big Bro and Cimock get a taste for this wonderful little place called Thailand. That's right folks---Big Bro has got tickets to Asia. Who would have thought?!)