I'm back. Sorta. When you go to the other side of the world, it takes a bit of time to readjust. It's about the clock, but it's also about life itself. I love my little home, my gardens and my cat. I love getting into my own bed at night. I love walking down the streets and looking at other people's gardens. I love the smell of clean clothes, and the feel of the cool breeze. I love the morning clouds and the afternoon sun.
And then I look at the container of Kashmiri green tea I brought back, and the green cardamom pods, (green is for tea, black is for cooking, I learned), and I'm transported back to the Himalayas. I'm whitewater rafting down the Lidder River in Pahalgham, or I'm riding a small pony up into the high meadows on a cloudy afternoon. I'm on a small, brown horse and my sister is on a larger white one. Our guide, Ishfaq is riding a third one. He is the only one of us who doesn't have a local man, holding the bridle of his horse. We pause in a vast meadow to take a few photos before climbing higher... There are gypsies who live in the mountains. They have no permanent homes. They live in tents. No computers, no hospitals, no schools. Just sheep, cows, and horses. We sat down and rested a while, listening to the wind. A Himalayan man came walking by. He lived in a small hut during the summer, several valleys away. He was walking over to where his cattle were grazing. He paused for a photo, then sat and talked to one of the men who was leading our horses. Other than the sound of their voices, we were in complete stillness. And then he got up and walked off. When I turned to look for him a couple of minutes later, he had vanished. So yes, I'm back. And I look around me in amazement at all the "stuff" we have here - our shiny cars, our movie houses, our manicured lawns and our manicured hands. I love all this stuff. And I also know that a simple cup of Kashmiri green tea with green cardamom and cinnamon will bring a smile to my lips. To make it, you put a teaspoon of tea into boiling water, break open a few green cardamom pods and add them along with a small chunk of cinnamon stick. Brew to desired strength. Strain into a teacup, add sugar, put your feet up and know that you are blessed.
9 years ago