Anjuna Beach, Goa India
by Vivienne M. Sharma
My heart is open for the first time in months. I sense people’s emotions and I laugh with the receptionist Sajan, the driver and guy at the check-in. One immigration person greets me with “Guten Morgen”. I am amazed and say “Danke”. Tears almost here. I blink and put on the sunglasses. “Don’t cry Vivi. Keep yourself together.”
Ideas are flowing through my head and I feel like I am missing structure. My head is spinning. The reality of the wonderful time with my loved one and once again India has touched me in so many ways. I feel like on cloud nine. Vivi has fallen in love. My love. He reminds me of my father. Why is that? He is so loving, so caring and still so funny.
“In the West we live our lives as if we could plan it.” I said to him.
“…and in the East we wake up in the morning and thank our God(s) for having given us another chance to live a day.” He told me with a big smile.
Once love touches your heart it is difficult to think straight. India does that to me every time. I come back to Switzerland and I am still in analogue-mode* like someone who has been on a ship and the earth still moves for several days after. “My” India is full of color and loving people, full of time and energy, full of buzz and opportunity. It is so different from the India that is in our Western minds.
In my perception of India relationships are in the centre of everything we do. In my own inner world this is the same but for years I have lived in cultures where the task seems more important than the relationship. This creates friction. In India I am at ease. I go with the flow. Most of the time I am even patient with people (which is clearly none of my strengths). In India I am happy to appreciate people for their efforts and I smile at strangers.
Let’s hope I can keep it up for a while in this culture too and see what happens :-). What is your experience with analogue and digital mode?
*analogue-mode is a concept I learnt from a Japanese intercultural researcher. You find more information here: http://web.usm.my/aamj/17.1.2012/AAMJ_17.1.6.pdf