I knew I had settled in to Varanasi when I was able to successfully find and buy alcohol on my own. When I returned with the spoils my host laughed and said “I never have to show foreigners where to buy beer. They always figure it out.”
We had already been out in the city that night, and I wasn’t planning on drinking the beer. I was saving it for the next day or maybe the day after that. I was standing around in the kitchen with a few other house mates when someone suggested we all have a drink. There was enough for everyone, but I refused, saying I was tired and wanted to sleep right after dinner.
It was then that Ricardo, the gentle Italian giant, put a hand on my shoulder and said something in his thick accent. What he actually said was “drink with dinner,” but what I heard was “drink the demon.”
As I mentioned in my first post in India I had never really wanted to visit here. India had loomed in the back of my mind the entire journey up until finally landing in Bangalore, when all those anxieties were suddenly real.
But now, sitting in my comfortable Airbnb in Athens, India is no longer an anxiety but a place I hope to see again one day. I did it, I drank the demon and it didn’t kill me. In fact, it left me better off than I’d been before.
Goodbye India. Until next time.