The feeling of coming home. I am shown around the collective as smiling faces turn towards me, welcoming me into a family. I feel at ease even as the lights turn off around me. A power cut, one that I am somewhat reassured is normal, and although I know I should be concerned as I enter a new place, and as my business relies on wifi (very much connected to electrical reliance). We joke together and I immediately find my place amongst the fire in the kitchen, the work bench filled with rolled balls of dough, waiting turned into puri in the heat of bubbling oil.
Life comes easy here as I feel at ease to share, open up to a collective about my thoughts on the universe, my projects and we create together. I never thought I could feel so at ease while being constantly surrounded by people, but I feel my energy increase with their company. Less of an introvert and more of reunited souls. Complete in the moment.
One day we spend under a mango tree, The Beatles sing out over a wireless speaker and my friend Sasha applies henna tattoos in the shape of snakes and fishes to Mathieu’s back. I paint on a large sheet of cardboard I have created from found boxes, experimenting with brighter colours I usually back away from. Next to me Maartje draws an intricate mandala. Later I sit next to Joshua who learns sweet child of mine on the guitar as I strum away on the ukulele. My heart is full, I feel like a child again and as though I can fully express my creativity. My face smiles out as I remind myself time and time again of the beauty of the moment.
At night we light a fire, even though the weather seems to warm to need to wrap up and sit next to flames. We are called to be cosy, sit close, sing, drum and play with music under the night sky. I lay back to look at the stars and at once feel both small and large at the same time. I can feel the earth under my head, my clothes becoming damp, and yet I do not care. Why worry about fabric when the universe is looking down upon you? It has only been a few days but I feel like I have spent months here, this place seems so familiar that I am not sure when I arrived.
I ride on the back of scooters, feeling the warm winds brush me by, feeling every speed bump and the adrenaline when they no longer appear and my friends speed up along with my heartbeat. We dance allowing our bodies to move with the vibrations of the music the dj sends out, the vibrations of the people that surround us. I swim in a pool fully clothed at a party by the sea just because there is no reason not to.
What holds me back is the worry of my work, that I am not doing enough, that my own projects will not fulfill themselves as my mind is set on surrounding myself with connecting in person rather than online. I turn my source of inspiration to my current reality rather than the internet and start to incorporate the shadows of plants I photograph, the tones of the scenery around me, into brand colour palettes. The internet connectivity of the first day, however, is not a fluke and every day I strive to find a good signal to schedule a meeting, to send a large file. I end up following the path to the sea where surprisingly I can work from a beach shack. I can hear the ocean at the same time as sending emails to clients across the globe. The world astounds me sometimes as it feels so small and yet so much of it to explore.
Piling into the back of a van we painted only a week earlier, with the creations of our imaginations. I have sat upon the roof, painted a moth with her wings outstretched, the night sky steaming past her as if in flight. I full heartedly feel like I am destined to take this journey. I prolong my stay in India by a meagre few days, but to me the opportunity to experience this place and time with these people is too strong of a pull to place the cost of a flight over. We often this of the places to visit in the world and yet the greatest moments, the memories are filled with people. Of smiles, of laughter or tears and heart wrenching pain. For good and for bad, I place my trust in those around me and set forth with my knees tucked under my chin at the back of a van destined to drive into the heart of India.