Last year, my main mode of relaxation was driving to some of my favorite music. I would plug in my phone, turn the volume knob up to a comfortable position, and cruise down the highway everyday to school.
This year, it's not much different. I find myself racing down the bumpy roads of Pune, but I am now accompanied by several others, as all of us are jammed into a bus headed to the heart of the city. With one earbud nestled in place, I idly look around a observe the passing developments, rivers, and people. The once cacophonous honks of the cars surrounding the bus are now almost therapeutic. The loud churn of the bus's engine keeps me alert, but also puts me in a state of relaxation. I hear the sea of chatter around me as the other bus patrons engage in joyous, depressing, or deep thought.
The bus chugs along.
Taking one more look around me to ensure there aren't any anomalies, I insert the other earbud into my ear. I hit play on one of my favorite tunes.
From there, I go into a meditative state. The next hour is just between me and the bus, and that's exactly how I like it. I first ponder my own situation. I think about my apprenticeship and living situation. As with anything, I realize that perfection is impossible, but I've learned to cherish each imperfection, because they've become a part of my own.
I think about my friends back home. How even once I return to the states, it won't be easy to regroup and that things may never return to the way they were when we all attended high school. That's okay. Change is something I've always learned to enjoy, so why fear it now? I'm excited to see the growth incited in my oldest pals, as well as myself, when I return home.
I think about the new connections I have made over the past month. It amazes me how much I've grown to care about and genuinely love my peers. When GCY told us that we'd make friendships for our lifetimes in such a span of time, I was skeptical. But now, in under a month, I understand what they meant. I'd go to war for some of the closest friends I've made in India.
And, sometimes, I think about nothing. I let my emotions and memories come and go, but occasionally, there's nothing better than just taking it all in. As I lazily drum out the song's rhythm on my backpack, I let the nothingness consume me.
In a city with so much activity and commotion, it's great to have a place to just ask questions that you won't ever get the answers to. A place where you don't feel suffocated by responsibilities. A place where you can just be you. The real you.
The bell rings, indicating that we are approaching my stop. Although I didn't get a single moment of shut-eye during the ride, I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle anything. I get off the vehicle and turn around to make sure I didn't leave anything. Nothing. I do a small wave to the driver and silently thank him for the hour of uninterrupted meditation.
The bus chugs along.