Where am I right now? I am suspended in a cradle of uncertainty.

Logically, I know the route and schedule of my trip ahead. Personally, however, there is a blank where my imagination should be illustrating the fast approaching India. I feel as if I have no sense of what this journey will be, and that confuses me.

On second thought, I think the problem might not be creating the picture, but completing it. When my feet touch the ground, will I see a vibrant-spice filled India? Or a damp, hardworking India? When I smile, will the ivory teeth of Bollywood India greet me? Or will it be one of the shy gaze I saw in Dharavi pictures? What am I supposed to be looking for? More importantly, what am I supposed to be looking for in myself?

So, I remain in this cradle, woven in by scraps of New York Times articles and Ted talks, holding tight to my information but knowing very little. It unnerves me to know that no matter how much I can read, as long as I have a screen between me and this experience, my information will not be my compass.

I suppose this is culture shock, the temporary displacement of self from routine, and the beginning conflict between past and present.

What am I leaving behind?

Pre-conceived notions of self are like ticks on this experience. I can gently scratch or tug at them but unless I actively remove them, they will burrow, and I will stagnate myself. So, in the name of Niswarth and a post-Andover growth, I want to leave behind my follow-up questions. These questions are the whispers of doubt, usually preceeded by “but”s or “maybe”s, and ending with a full stopping of myself from sharing a worry or asking a question.

These questions turn into regrets and “I should have”s, and I want to leave nothing but service behind.