12.192 meters / 40.000 feet in the air. Somewhere above Ankara. Europe is coming closer, the ‘west’ more tangible than the ‘east’. This chapter of my India story almost over. Before leaving the Netherlands last September, colleagues told me to ‘use this opportunity to press the reset button’; and to ‘embrace the unknown like only you can’. I have done both. With my whole heart. I have learned to be ‘here’ and wanting to be nowhere else. Realising that I am living exactly that life I have always wanted. No defined what’s-next-plan, because for now this is life, with all it’s insecurities, surprises, and unexpected changes. And that is ok.
My last days in Delhi are spent with friends. Drinking Kingfisher Ultra, eating my favourite dishes, chatting, laughing, remembering. Some last minute gift shopping in Delhi Haat, haggling with auto rickshaw drivers because Uber faces a huge strike, and packing my two bags. The night before leaving, while sitting with a Punjabi singer, Delhi boys, Desi girls, and two chefs, im taking in the craziness of this city and this country.
Two weeks have passed and mixed feelings arise while living ‘back home’. Because what actually is ‘home’? In Delhi ‘Broederliefde’ and ‘Fresku’ were blasting through my headphones while cruising the streets on my bicycle. Here in the Netherlands I am accompanied by Diljit Dosanjh, who makes my head wobble from side to side in the cold rainy Dutch weather. Caught in-between worlds. Taking the best of two worlds. Trying not to see it as a loss, but a richness. Two places in the world I can call home. Two cultures close to my heart.
However, despite all the opening up to other cultures and habits, I can be a total idiot as well. Because when my friend hands me my first pure (quality) whiskey in my life, after taking a small sip, my response is: “it tastes a bit like chewing on a cigarette…is that supposed to be the taste”? My friend can only shake his head, with utter disappointment in his eyes.