Last week, when I returned to Frankfurt airport after a five week trip to India, it seemed as though I had never left this place. Terminal 2, where I had boarded from, looked just as it had that day in early December: the same billboard ads hanging from the ceiling, the same cars on display, the same blonde behind the information desk. Where had all those weeks in India gone? If life simply moved on from this point, how should I make sense of this period that seems – at this moment – almost non-existent but for a bundle of memories? They are only in my mind now, so was it all an illusion? What if I’d spent these weeks inhabiting worlds described in books? Would that have left a lesser impression within? Would those memories – those arrangement of electrons in the brain – be in some way inferior to my memories now?
I do not know if it was the dislocation caused by the long flight, or the extremely cold weather outside, the drive back home seemed too real to be true: like waking up from an intense dream and wondering whether this was the dream and that one – the one I’d just left – was the real world. Is this what happens when one connects deeply to two different worlds and experiences both intensely?
India seems a far-away place right now, a week after our vacation. Far-away, but real: the sights, sounds, smells and all manner of sensations come back instantly when recalled. There is so much that at times it seems overwhelming – especially when I think of writing about this trip. How to begin, where to start, which story to tell and what to ignore? Right now, until a better idea strikes, I will simply document some scenes as I saw them: small portraits of the India I experienced.