WWOOF-ing India Week 5: Saying Good Bye

Sorry to leave this place. (Photo Mahek Shringhey)

Time has flown by and I find myself in my last week at Samata in almost a blink. Sam and Mel left for Sri Lanka and Matt went to live on the Tamarind property.

I was alone again but the loneliness didn’t bite so much this time around. I spent most of my time helping Kaoru in the kitchen, removing boxes of utilities from the storage, scrubbing counters and cupboards, and helping her get everything in order before the busy season kicks in. As the day to depart came closer, I hung around in the garden to do as much as I could before I left. I weeded, watered, planted, and transplanted.

With Diwali here I feel like the new year perfectly coincides with the end of my WWOOF-ing experience, symbolizing a new beginning. I know I am going back a different person. This change isn’t just about how I had tanned four shades darker, about the weight I had lost, or about how I was physically altered with cuts and bruises (okay it isn’t that bad, but a little drama didn’t hurt nobody!). There is a shift in the core of my being, something I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts about and wrap my head around. Here is an attempt at putting it all together.

As I shared last week, patience, perseverance, and self-assurance are lessons I’m definitely taking back, but most importantly this trip has helped me restore my faith in people. I feel like I live in a day, age, and country where crime rates are at an all-time high, where one is advised to trust no one — not even family. But here I was all alone in a place full of people I had never met and turned out to have such a wonderful experience with them.

I speak of the locals here in particular. My interaction with these people from the village humbled me. They were respectful, resourceful, and extremely helpful. Our senses are constantly assaulted about rapes, murders, and mishaps through the media, and while one may take a leap of faith by embarking on an adventure of sorts, there is always a sense of fear dangling in the back of the head. One mustn’t dismiss these happenings and go about a reckless pursuit. Instead, be smart and prudent about your escapade, learn as much as you can about the place your going, and be nice to people.

Above all, this journey has been one of self-exploration and self-realization. They say that the environment is a reflection of what you’re feeling inside, and that what you’re feeling within will affect how you respond without.

I realized that this held true on two occasions when it rained. During my initial days, as I was acclimating to my new habitat, I despised the fact that it was raining one evening because I felt fearful and negative within, with the thunder and lightning adding to my woes. But in the coming weeks, as I gained more courage and mustered more confidence, I have returned with vivid memories of sitting in the open kitchen and watching the rain pour down ferociously, thankful to it for feeding the soil and its beautiful petrichor. A hot day made me look forward to quickly dried laundry and gorging on juicy watermelon.

The harmony and balance in my mind and body perfectly melded with the environment, which helped me feel more at peace. I became more accepting of what I had and where I was. I embraced and sought more. This was necessary — a natural unfurling of emotions to confront the devils of doubt and negativity. I wanted to purge myself as much as I could. But that’s what we have our whole lives waiting ahead of us — to learn, unlearn, relearn, and grow with each experience.

While on one hand I couldn’t wait to get back to the city, I also felt uneasy about leaving. This feeling heightened as I got out from the airport on my way home through the maddening chaos of Diwali traffic and noise. After a month of sleeping with the sound of nothing but chirping crickets, this was going to take some getting used to. Nonetheless, if I were to go back and do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat.

I now look forward to many more trips of exploration: of nature and myself. I’m not sure if my words have done justice to how evolved and uplifted I feel, but I can tell you dear reader one thing for sure: getting out of your comfort zone is possibly the most terrifying thing you’ll ever have to do. But by not doing it, you will only always know of your fears and guilt and never know of liberation and freedom.

Signing off,
City Girl

Follow the rest of Mahek’s adventure:

Week 1: City Girl in a Farm World
Week 2: Bugs, Dung, and Darkness
Week 3: Growing Friendships & Plants
Week 4: Life Lessons

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About the Author

A 23 year-old city girl who wants nothing more than being able to eat without getting fatter, world peace and a pet pig. She is now on a mission to explore the depth of food in its full potential.