I’ve got itchy feet…I mean, wanderlust. The kind of fever that seizes a frequent traveler, or one bitten by the travel bug. I’ve been talking about wanting to go to India for a while. Fine, since Slumdog Millionaire came out. Cliché, I know. All I know is that I’ve got India Fever, a yearning for a land I know almost nothing about it. Knowing nothing in the age of Information is no excuse, really.
“I wanna go to India!”.
“Oh, what part of India?”
Shrug. “I don’t know. I just wanna go to Indiaaa!!!”
It’s at this point that my Indian friends stop talking to me. It’s the same as someone wanting to go to Italy or Bali after having read “Eat, Pray, Love”. Or wanting to go to Africa after having read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart…which seems to be the only book by an African author read in American classrooms. “Which country in Africa do you want to visit?” “Wait…Africa’s not a country?” Thankfully, I almost never hear this question anymore, unless it’s friends who are more than willing to push my buttons, once in a while. So, I understand why they roll their eyes when I start talking about India.
I’m in the first few pages of Life of Pi and so far, I’m intrigued. Who is this young man who decided to study sloths at university? Why does a remark like “fresh off the boat” cut him so deep that he loses his appetite? What happened to him that was so tragic that cancer patients felt sorry for him? The narrative is light so far, but I can’t help but feel that something dark is around the corner. It’s the same feeling you get, standing in front of a murky body of water, while someone waves at you to dive in. “Come in, the water’s great”. Yet, you don’t dare jump in. What lies under the murkiness?
I sense some murkiness under the surface. So far, so good. I’m intrigued enough to post on my Indian friends’ Facebook wall: “Is it Bombay or Mumbai?”