I've wanted to believe for as long as I remember. As a little girl, my belief of choice was the tooth fairy. I believed in that sparkling pink pixie with a frightening fervor. I wrote her letters, I talked to her, I even tried leaving her food. This went on until I was almost 13. Granted, my devoutness was largely due to the monetary gain she provided, but I was a dedicated believer nevertheless.
At 15, needing some sign of hope, some indicator that my life would not remain the unraveling, adolescent mess that it was, I went to a mosque. I went hoping that I would feel connected to something bigger than myself, something larger than life. Instead, I admired the mosaics, ran my hands across the beautifully intricate jaali work, took a couple photographs, and came back rather the same. Oh well.
At 16, I remember sitting in the Milan Duomo, my very first, sugar-rushed month in Italy, absolutely awed by everything that I saw. That day I prayed to abstraction just because I wanted to believe so much. As I watched people come and go, kneeling by the alter, heads bent, hands folded, sitting quietly in the pews, and really being with this God, I wished with all my heart that I could believe. Instead, I lit a candle, cleared my head, found my friends and went out to buy some gelato.
At 17, I fell in love with a boy. I fell in love with a dimpled delicious boy because he believed in something so great, and so powerful, that it defined him. His belief seemed to give him answers, to give him a perspective greater than his own, and to truly guide him. I was swept off my feet by a heady cocktail of faith and fervor. Two years later, we moved to separate continents and so did the belief.
Nearing 20, I have finally put an end to my hungry hunt for belief. In conversation with my grandfather a few days ago I was delighted to find that he felt just like me. Here was the man who has been my definition of wisdom and respect for as long as I can remember, admitting to his big eyed, bug eyed granddaughter that he doesn't have the answers either. At 7am, with the rain pouring down in front of us, and plenty of chai to keep us company, I finally felt as though I was at peace with my lack of belief.
So now, I believe in community. I believe that the world is getting smaller, and that our hearts have to get bigger. I believe in idealism and dynamism. I believe in art that disturbs you, that envelops you, and that sneaks into the cracks. I believe that I was made to create, but that we can always surprise ourselves. I believe in souls and I believe in the universe, in higher powers, in crazy forest rituals, in dark chocolate cake and in glasses of wine. I believe in family, in the value of living with people you love, or loving the people you live with, in eating meals together, in fighting with each other, in just being there, in wrestling contests, in the power of home. I believe in discovering the world, in staying wide-eyed and bright eyed, in realism but not cynicism. I believe in the city that raised me and the country that grounds me. I believe that the most powerful weapon we have is choice, I believe in life as a series of those choices, and I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe in fucking up, and owning up. I believe in hope, in always, always being grateful. I believe in rejecting apathy, in the power of argument, in swallowing pride, in being straightforward, in always being curious. I believe that somewhere, somehow, sometime I will change the world.
And for now, that's enough.
Here are some pictures from my last few days in Bombay. I'm really going to miss that crazy town.