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  • Writer's pictureRogue Chemist

Revisiting (and rethinking) Delhi

I'm back in Delhi after two solid days of rest in Guwahati.

I found a copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho on the bookshelf in the communal living room and quickly read it cover to cover. I know most of the Western world has already read this book and I'm late to the game, but better late than never. It was a gem; there are many little nuggets of wisdom and interesting analogies weaved throughout the story.

Like this one:

"When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

I can picture my life unfolding in this manner in recent years—riding a current that has led to places, people, and experiences I could never have predicted.

I'm much less indecisive and more spontaneous than I was in the past. Not impetuous or reckless, but adventurous and more action-oriented. I can jump into something and trust that the current will direct me. This doesn't mean I'm driving with no hands at the wheel, so to speak, but I've adopted the view that life is incredibly exciting, especially if you take calculated risks (and maybe the occasional blind leap of faith).

With "reality" on the horizon, I have mixed feelings. I'm sad to end my adventure but looking forward to seeing friends and returning to certain aspects of my normal life. Not a new feeling. Working remotely as a writer and travelling as I please has been a dream of mine for some time, but the path towards it is not clear yet.

What is clear to me is that I have a great life and stable career in Germany, and I appreciate having a home base and other constants in my life. I have thought of other options to experience the world, including a lateral move, perhaps working from one of our offices in another country, if possible. Another possibility could be to take a sabbatical at some point in order to travel for a longer period of time.

These avenues will take shape in time.

I have left most of my clothing and other items behind in each place I've visited, donating them to people who will value them more than me. I always pack only the bare essentials when I travel, including clothing I wish to donate. It also frees up space in my bag to bring things back (mainly gifts).

I handled Delhi with confidence today. It was over 40 degrees Celsius (in the span of three weeks, I have experienced -10 to over 40), but I was still out and about, unfazed.

After being in India for three weeks, dare I say I have developed a sense of comfort and familiarity by now. I treated myself with the same delicious Thai yellow curry I discovered at Dilli Haat during my first visit (as I said earlier, it doesn't matter where I am, a good Thai curry trumps all other food options for me), followed by a chocolate chip cookie and cinnamon oatmeal cookie at a fancy bakery in Khan Market. It was a good, relaxing last day.

My first order of business when I return to reality is to cut my damn fingernails, which are annoying me right now, as I type. They have grown out fast here, and I hate having long nails. Especially a nuisance for boxing. I realized today that I made it through my trip without sickness or injury of any kind (aside from sore muscles). The worst ailment I had was a headache that lasted only a few hours on the trek.

To avoid inopportune food woes, I take a probiotic yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii several times daily. It can be easily bought online (e.g., Amazon), and I swear by this stuff. It's especially good for keeping bad bacteria in your gut at bay while travelling, but given my unpredictable IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms, I take it as part of my normal day-to-day routine, no matter where I am. I also haven't been targeted much by mosquitoes or flies, either, which is a bonus.

And thank God, I have only seen one live cockroach during my entire trip. Plenty of dead suckers, but those don't count.


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