January 11, 2005

Clicking Ruby Shoes

What a miracle modern travel is! Just a few days ago, I was wandering the dusty, spiritual streets of Thiravannamalai, and now, I am back at home in clean, materialistic Tokyo.

The experiences that I gathered on my travels, have started to manifest into memories taken from the perspective of reflection, as I adjust to accomodate them within my regular life here in Japan. When we travel to new environments, we find a playground in which we are challenged to deal with the unfamiliar. Once the journey ends, we return to our usual existence, but have been changed by the successes and failures of the tests abroad. The initial days of my return from any trip, are always disorientating.

Due to the tsunami disaster, it has been quite overwhelming to return to Japan and find so many people relieved to see me. This has only further compounded my confused state of readjustment. The reality that they experienced, which was fuelled by the news coverage and fears that I may have been injured or killed, collides incongruously with my own experiences, where I was never in any direct danger.

I also feel great responsibility in the way in which I discuss my experiences of this historical tragedy. It is vital that they are not cheapened or glorified in any way. I can sympathise with why so many war veterans refuse to speak of their battle experiences. The severity of such experiences require that the context remains unchanged, and not altered to accomodate the expectations of those inquiring.

For the first time ever after travelling, I am actually delighted to be home. As much as I adore India, the tsunami certainly tainted the journey in a major way. Emotionally, I feel extremely drained, so it comes as a relief to reflect privately in the comfort of my familiar surroundings.

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