Having said all of that, I still don't care that much about people, I guess. I am not easily getting attached to people and rarely do I travel together with someone. People easily go on my nerves. I notice that I get more attached to places, to animals and also to children. To all of these the connection can be very immediate, without concepts, without personality intervening. I was exceptionally happy to meet up again with a four year old or so Russian girl in the resort I stayed at in Pai when I came back after the week in the monastery and she also was. The fascinating thing about children in that age is that they are just happy to see one. They don't ask where one was, they don't even really conceive do much of that one was gone, I guess, they are just happy that one is there. No concepts intervening. And here in Kolkata for instance, having checked in to the same hotel I already stayed seven month ago and luckily even having gotten the same room and having talked with two neighbours for the whole night, both of which I think I came to quite like and become reminded of how different people who come to India are, despite all of that, what made me most happy about being here was one the one hand just the city of Kolkata, i.e. the place, which is very very charming and on the other hand an encounter with a friend from seven month ago - a cat that had been my roommate in those days. A very special cat, quite picky about whom to hang out with and not easily convinced of ones worthyness of its presence. So far it has, to my disappointment, not reaccepted me and decided to walk away. But last time it also took some days for us to get together.
So, as I said, I notice its not so much the people, but places, animals and children. I love watching Indian children by the way. They have exceptionally beautiful eyes, not to speak of the beautiful colours of the c,othes the girls, just like the woman, are wearing, and their behaviour is somehow quite unrestricted and free which is just another of the oh so sommon Indian paradoxes, because isn't Indian society one of the most restrictive one could imagine? Just keep in mind how horrible woman are generally being treated, how much inequality there is and how much residue of the cast system, how limiting and restrictive the heavy tradition can be and so on and so on. But, despite all of that, it is somewhat very free and peaceful. Not just the children, its somehow everywhere, all of society, life and culture. That's paradoxical and contradictory, but that's exactly how India is and why we find it so so special. India is an existing paradox. The rational mind has such a hard time here performing its job of making sense of things, putting everything into place, concept and logic, it has kind of no chance here and hence it eventually capitulates. This is quite a relief if you have an overactive rational mind like me and most Westerners have.
If you can stand that state of not knowing, of a rational mind having stopped making sense of things because regarding its categories there is simply no sense, then you will love India. And you will discover a sense, a meaning that is far deeper than any rationally constructed and categorized meaning or sense ever could be. Other than the mediate sense of rational analysis, this sense is immediate, intuitive and, if you ask me, much mire conducive to life, joy and peace than the rational one. Is it below or above the rational? Both! The question itself is a simple categorization that comes from the rational mind. There is nothing wrong about the rational mind in itself, it is just that our Western culture has overemphasized it lately. (For large parts of the Indian population for example I would deeply wish for more rationality!) But rationality and the kind of sense and meaning it can produce is only the tip of an iceberg of what really is available to the human mind. There is so much more, everywhere around, below, above, besides, in the eyes of the children, in the details and in the big picture. And that's the lesson India teaches us, those how feel a need to listen, at this point of history. Such a beautiful lesson: colourful, playful and peaceful - besides all the unbelievable mess and horror that India is without doubt at the same time.
Paradoxes are such that one cannot express them in language, in words and sentences. One would have to negate everything that has been said in the very next sentence, just as it happened a little in this entry. Existence itself is, as we see when we pay close attention and as every philosopher worthwhile reading has seen, a paradox. We mostly ignore this, because we are naturally afraid of non-identity, of non-sense and the rational mind is the main agent in this ignoring, in this our ignorance. If you cannot let go at least a little bit of your sense of rationality and the order, categories, plans and so on coming with it, you will hate India. I keep on hearing the very same story of people who came and literally within very few hours disliked it so much that they went back to the airport and immediatelly took the next plane. What a relief! Chaos, disorder and non-sense, or all-in-one: the absence of control, are, it seems, what we fear the most.
Did I mention how much I like Kolkata? I would like to say more, but not many appropriate words appearing in my mind right now. It is the city of Indian socialism, of decay, of artists and intellectuals, of Mother Theresa, by far the cheapest of the big cities in India and definitely the only one of these worth staying longer than necessary. It also has the most delicious variety of streetfood which I have a very hard time resisting, despite my stomach becoming quite resistant at times afterwards. It is so charming ... You should visit Kolkata someday!