This is What India Taught Me

It's been my dream to travel to India. I managed to convince Sam to book an impromptu flight to Bombay before we planned to arrive in Dubai. We only had enough time for a couple of nights in Mumbai.

I'll definitely be back, and next time to explore the northern side of Indian and dive deeper into their culture

The moment we woke up in our hotel room I couldn't wait to hit the streets and explore. After we found the best organic, vegan breakfast (I know it's not Indian but I needed something fresh) we walked around Kala Ghoda and grabbed a taxi to the Chor Bazaar.

The Chor Bazaar is definitely touristy, yet it gives a better taste and idea of the reality of the city as oppose to the nice area of Marine Drive. The Chor Bazaar houses all levels of poverty. The houses and the streets are littered, and the narrow winding roads of the Bazaar are filled with antiques, old Bollywood posters, tools, clothing and more.

Sam and I definitely found treasures in the bazaar. An owner from one of the antique shops lead me down a very narrow hallway, which was packed from floor to ceiling of antiques from 100s of years ago. I felt like the building was going to collapse on me, it was very claustrophobic. I fell in love with two kama sutra the paintings I found in the very back of the building. Apparently, the owner purchased a trunk from an auction and discovered the paintings in the trunk that use to belong to a prince of India some time ago. Sam and I also purchased a few antique 1940s Bollywood posters to hang in our house. I was enthralled with the beauty of the market.

The first day opened my eyes to something more than beautiful things and food. I felt myself getting sucked into the depths of India, and wanting to expose a hardness about the people who walk along the streets beside me. They stare so intently at you, it's like being felt up emotionally. Being an intuitive in a busy place, I found myself susceptible to their energy and taking it on.

I got lost in victim energy which seemed to sky rocket from the streets. The class system really is  heavily in play in India. I found that some individuals carried the burden of past life karmic debt and therefore "deserve" the life they have now. The poverty runs deep, and the luxury flashes brightly. Mumbai is this beautiful complicated mix that I'll never fully understand. 




A few things I learned in Mumbai:

SURRENDER. Walking home from the Chor Bazaar, I felt myself a bit on edge. I was swimming with this heavy energy. I had to take a second and surrender. The stares, the smells, the sickness, the poverty, and yet the beauty in having contrast so brightly shined in your face. Surrender was the only thing I could do. As soon as I decided to give into India. I was more comfortable and calm, and confident walking through the different classes.


LOVE LIGHTS THE WAY. The beauty isn't always easy to find, trust and love. It's just as in your face as the garbage on the streets, the poverty and overload to your sense. There's so much beauty around the faded bright coloured walls that are surrounded by unkept sidewalks and garbage. The goats and cows that roam freely on the streets because animals are treated the same way people are. The food, oh the food. Made with love, history, culture, and home picked spices - it's incredible! After getting past the hard exterior, the people are just so warm and loving. The beautiful architecture that was created while under colonization of the UK and the dirt, plants and laundry that hang over the crown moldings now, means it's been well lived in by families and generations. It's been a shelter and home. The way Indians speak about independence day and how greatly it had influenced their artwork, architecture, and overall being and sense of pride and freedom is that glimmer or sparkle in the eye of a person you love.


The Colaba Market was filled with animals with Bindi's for Holie



EVERYTHING YOU ASSUME ABOUT INDIA IS PROVEN OTHERWISE. My first few days I felt that victim archetype, I felt the deep stares and I definitely noticed the hardship. Everything is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. I am no different than the children in the slums, or the parents who work 24/7 to feed their family. I am no different than the women wearing traditional saris. I had to surrender to India, and surrender to my own beliefs about myself and give into it.


Lots of street art in Bombay.


Stumbling through alleys, completely enamoured at the depth of the neighbourhoods and architecture.

INDIA IS LIFE CHANGING. We spent most of our time in the southern half of Mumbai. We enjoyed walking around the neighbourhoods and stumbling upon bazaars and slums. Anytime I entered a poor area, I could feel my body tense up and my senses were on high alert. I had to conicously recollect myself and realize, I'm okay. I envisioned the whole neighbourhood light up in glissenting white light and the tension eroded from my shoulders, my third eye relaxed and I was able to be still in a husstling neighbourhood where you literally share every step with someone else because it's too damn crowded. 

INDIA IS STILL LIFE CHANGING CONT'D. To see the smile in the eyes of the children running around and their parents sitting outside their homes laughing, sharing street food, and wearing those unbelievable colours could only put a smile on the faces of Sam and I, especially since it was Holi Festival. Mumbai doesn't celebrate it as much as they do in the northern part of India, however we still had a taste of it. The traditions are kept well. The evening before the festival, the communities build hay stacks of statues on the streets and watch it burn while they pray and celebrate it with their neighbours. It was so beautiful to witness. The next day, the streets are completely empty. I've never seen anything like it. It was so eerie, mysterious, yet calming and soothing at the same time. I'm fascinated that a city the size of Mumbai, with over 22million people could disappear within an instant.


Holi Festival 2018


Markets selling Holi paint



PRESENCE. The most important thing I got to witness in India was the presence within each individual. I got to finally look past the hardship within the eyes of some of the men and discover the love they carry. Men hold hands with each other, they're touchy, I even saw them clean each other's ears. There is no judgement, just fascination on my part. Imagine if the whole world adopted this way of being, instead of trying to one up each other? Imagine if the men in Europe and North America held hands, as a symbol of "I'm looking out for you". Imagine, if there were no gender constructs and men could tap into that divine feminine and make it okay like we have with women.

FREEDOM. The women have inspired me deeply as well. Their traditional sari's are stunning. Neon, bright, light colours seem to light the way through the busy town of Bombay. I couldn't help but notice it more as a uniform. At first, my interpretation was fixed and obsessing over the fact that they HAVE to wear it. Like the women in Dubai, foremost a muslim city, I see a lot of the traditional outfits on women, except here they're all black and In India they're every single colour of the rainbow. No matter what your size is, they're all wear crop tops with their skirts and sari's. It's beautiful, it really highlights the womb, reproduction, and femininity.


India, I love you.

xox Tori

Tori Swanson