North India

- Patience -

India, and it is not for lack of being warned, puts all our senses on alert. Colors, smells, noises constantly shake us. The loss of reference is total there. A famous proverb, moreover, aptly says: "Any European who comes to India acquires patience if he does not have it and loses it if he does."

 

We needed patience when, pressed against each other, we walked slowly toward the entrance to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, along with hundreds of Sikh worshipers.

 

It is also with patience that we criss-crossed parts of the entire jungle in search of the famous Bengal tiger or the Asian elephant, without being able to come across these creatures even if we saw many others.

 

Patience, patience when we left, at each stop of the vehicle, dozens of curious Indians come to inspect our mobile home. It took a lot more patience when we woke up in the middle of the night to ask for a selfie.

 

We lost it, that sweet Patience, when we got behind the steering wheel. Yet far from outsized cities like Delhi, we had to face an absolutely anarchic conduct of our friends in 2 or 4 motorized wheels, while zigzagging between a multitude of bikes, tuk-tuks, buffalo carts, pedestrians, and sacred cows! The incessant horns also made us a little tense.

 

But India is also a nice surprise. Because in the midst of this incessant chaos, beauty emerges, in the colors of saris or the turbans of Sikhs, in the smell of spices or flowers given as offerings to Shiva, in the knowing smiles exchanged in these endless queues , in the grace of the monkeys jumping from branch to branch in the jungle and in the silence of meditations on the banks of the Ganges.

 

It was a short stay but we still learn a lesson from it. India is not enough to go there to understand. To understand, you have to be able to open up to difference and to do that, be patient again and again.

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