One of my least favorite times of the year is the first week back in India after returning from my annual trip to the US and UK. It’s not that I don’t want to be back, it’s just that those first few days are usually spent in a jet lagged, semi depressed stupor while trying to cope with the old, but new chaos of India and the always reliable August monsoons. During those days I remain open to signs from God; something that reminds me that my purpose at this stage in my life is to be in India working on developing football. It’s crazy that during those days I have to convince myself of this because my heart already knows this fact as it’s my heart which usually does most of the talking about why I’m still in India when I answer this question to the hordes of people who ask me this during my Western tour. Although my heart is aware of my purpose, my head is usually so full of noise and confusion during these days that convincing the chattering voice seems necessary for any comfort and peace of mind to exist.
So back to signs. I don’t actively seek signs to validate my choice to be in India but I acknowledge them when they appear. The other day I saw a sign in the most unlikeliest of places.
If you ask anyone who knows me even remotely well to name my top 10 favorite things, I’d confidently bet that 75% of the people interviewed would include football and monkeys on their list and they would be correct. I know that this may make me seem just a bit superficial but just like most young men, I appreciate the cuteness and human like qualities of monkeys and always enjoy seeing them roaming through the streets and parks and backyards of Delhi since they make me smile and I love smiling.
The other day I reluctantly agreed go on a site visit to a friend’s school located in the depths of Haryana. I was reluctant because it was only my 3rd day back in India, I was extremely exhausted, my outlook inbox was overflowing and the thought of driving 1 hour through rural Haryana during the peak of monsoon season sounded worse than death. Given all that, I still said yes and the next thing I know my colleague and I were packed in a beat up taxi heading to the Sehwag International School with our mutual friend.
It was a pretty normal site visit until I saw my sign. We were walking towards the main football pitch and there, sitting where the left half should be, was a monkey just looking adorable. At that moment all I could do was laugh and smile at the fact that I’m so lucky to be in India doing the type of work I’m doing and seeing the type of madness that I see on a daily basis. Never could I imagine showing up to a US or UK pitch and seeing a monkey just hanging out, yet in India this is a not so uncommon experience and the beauty is that during these moments it’s almost impossible to be that serious about anything, be it jet lag or the bouts of loneliness which sometimes surface when you live so far away from family and friends.
Everyone should be aware of the signs around them, existence puts them in front of us to create clarity and it’s up to us to acknowledge them and move on with life…