India: A somewhat typical Saturday morning

Saturday started out rough and I'm not too proud to admit why.  I had a "week five meltdown"...four days into my travels.

A "week five meltdown" is just shy of a validated medical diagnosis in our house.  Why the "week five" designation?  Because on each of my long trips last winter and spring, this little sobfest occurred precisely five weeks into each stay.  Contributing factors include exhaustion, work deadlines, a weekend morning with nowhere to be, and good-natured but unsolicited commentary that I "should really spend more time with Matt."  

Despite the marvel of being in a foreign country - and knowing full well that this is an experience to be appreciated - life on the road takes its toll.  It sneaks up on you and suddenly you are overwhelmed by it all.  Homesickness isn't even the right way to describe it.  Instead, it's uncertainty, it's doubt, it's loneliness, it's vulnerability, it's defeat.  The next thing you know, you're crying while running.  Again.

After a reassuring call with Matt, I picked myself up and headed down for breakfast before going over to the office for a few hours.  My elevator ride introduced me to a Russian man who asked if I did a 10k that morning.  Huh?  I wasn't in my running clothes.  

"I've seen you come in the last few mornings.  You run a lot, yeah?  And you know all the hotel staff and they know you.  You must be here a lot, yeah?"

Yeah.  And you're not the first to come to this conclusion.

Next I'm in a taxi with a particularly chatty driver.  We go back and forth about me being from America and how many times I've been over to India.  After some time he must have decided we were close enough friends for him to provide marriage advice. 

"You married?  Where is your husband?  Oh, he's not at the hotel.  That is bad.  You should see him."


All this AFTER I had already cried out tears of guilt.  

It would be easy to start feeling really sorry for oneself under such conditions and I was quickly headed in that direction.  But even through the snot and sobs, I knew enough to know that this, too, shall pass.  And by that I mean not only the meltdown but the India experience entirely.  The taxi stopped to let me out and I consciously watched all that was happening, taking comfort in the simplicity of certain things against the backdrop of an otherwise emotionally-complex morning.

Coke bottles were arriving in crates.

 Diwali lanterns fluttered gently in the breeze, providing something soft against all the other hard surfaces.

A cow rooted through last night's leftovers.

And a pack of men and boys rode in the back of a truck, watching me as I watched them.

So, to prevent this from being nothing but sad trombones, I'll finish up by saying I got some time in by the pool later that afternoon and a mega hit of vitamin D, thanks to the Mumbai sun, certainly lifted my spirits. If there's one thing I've learned through an intense amount of business travel, it's that there will always be emotional tension.  Appreciating the uniqueness of life outside without letting it come at the expense of appreciating life back home can be tough, but thankfully I have random strangers reminding me of how the priorities ultimately stack up.  Who knew Matt had so many fans in India?   

1 comment:

Kate said...

Oh dear. Hang in there! Someday you won't be traveling like this anymore...and it will be AMAZING. xoxo


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