Following an early morning drive through the stirring streets, a short walk to the ghat (the steps leading to the water’s edge), and a boat ride, I at last found myself standing on the banks of the Ganga (as it is called in Hindi), next to my mother. In a way, being there was the pinnacle of my experience in India; standing at that ancient center of knowledge, history and spirituality, the allure of which first drew me to the country, and being there with my mother, without whom none of it would have been possible. Like every experience, it was the culmination of everything I had ever done in my life, yet this time it felt different. This time, I sensed the essence of India and of my own self, and how the two have come together in a beautiful confluence. We waded in, and, with some thoughtful words on my lips, I knelt down and immersed myself in the waters of the river thought to flow from heaven itself.
Like all exchange students around the world, I have reached that point where there is much more to look back upon than there is to look forward to in my time away. But I cannot confine everything I have done to the boundaries of time. It all continues carrying me ahead in a single direction, a course charted long before I ever landed in India. This chapter is coming to a close, and I am preparing to turn another page. Just as the Ganga flows back to its spring in heaven, so I, in the waning days of my Indian life, must begin anew that which has become old.
Sam Aldridge is a Rotary Exchange student from Milford. To read more from him, visit thebarodasagas.wordpress.com.