1) Hopped on a rickshaw outside the Sripuram for Katpadi Jn. (cost: INR130)
2) Caught a regional train at Katpadi Jn. for Chennai Central (cost: INR226)
3) Squeezed in a busy inner-city train from Park Station to Tirusulam Station and walked straight to Chennai's international airport


Finally! ! !

How long did I wait for this day to come?! No more frustration, no more confusion and no more curry! I'm gonna fly out of this chaos in a couple of hours and I'm just over the moon right now.

The past 5 weeks have gone so quickly as Indian people are so restless and they've made me restless, too. In this article I upload my personal memos for my time in India. It's hilarious to read them now because I wrote down each one of them at the end of every week as honestly as I ever could:

@ The 1st week (~ 2012/10/09)
Places visited: Chennai & Varanasi

Quite disgusted by many things such as noise, smell, pollution, rubbish, stray animals, dung, traffic, and people, billions of people! I'm seriously wondering what makes India so filthy. It just makes no sense to me why they don't use any garbage bins and why they don't seem to care at all about their own environments. It's only my first week here and I'm trying to stay positive, but it's extremely difficult at this stage. Did I go too deep too soon....? Maybe. Sri Lanka was indeed a piece of cake.
So far the only good thing is that I've already eaten at a few local restaurants and my belly's been fine :-)

@ The 2nd week (~ 2012/10/16)
Places visited: Agra & Aurangabad (including Ellora & Ajanta)

The Taj, Ellora and Ajanta were all spectacular and I really enjoyed visiting them. Meanwhile, what actually caught my eyes even more than those ruins were people in this country.
Many women in India look cool to me. They all keep their hair long; it's actually quite rare to see women with short hair in this country. A pity that they don't smile much, but their eyes hold sheer strength and I even wonder if those vividly colourful sarees that they always wear are a means for them to silently claim their existence in this very male-dominant society.
On the other hand, I'm not sure about Indian men, especially those tuk-tuk drivers, hotel/guesthouse promoters and hawkers on the streets. They are extremely annoying!

@ The 3rd week (~ 2012/10/23)
Places visited: Mumbai & Kovalam

I've been trying to stay positive and desperately searching for a good thing in this country, but it's just so hard! India is very confusing to me now. For instance; I ran into a guy in his 50s on a back-street in downtown Mumbai one day. I was just taking some random photos with my camera then. He saw what I was doing and asked me a question; "Why are you taking photos now?" I simply replied to him; "Because I found them interesting and different from things in my country." And then he started giving me a lecture by saying "What is different to you? Nothing is different in this world. Everything you see now is the same...." I actually fully understood what he was getting at (in a philosophical way, of course.) But I wasn't into that! Basically, all I was doing then was to take some photos for fun. That was all. And I needed no Zen master then. Please leave me alone!
Meanwhile, those bed-bugs on the overnight train didn't only suck my blood, but also they sucked my enthusiasm in travelling this country. I just booked a flight to get the hell out of here in two weeks time. Can't wait!

@ The 4th week (~ 2012/10/30)
Places visited: Kovalam & Trivandrum

A reputation amongst many backpackers - South India is more easy-going and relaxing than North or Central India - may be true. Despite having only been to Trivandrum and Kovalam of Kerala state I must admit that it's much cleaner and greener down here than all the other places I've been to in India. Furthermore, people in Kerala seem quite laid-back. I've heard that there are a large number of Christian and Muslim people around here. Is this the reason why?
Surfing-wise, there was only one day that I didn't surf in Kovalam due to very strong onshore winds then. Generally speaking, waves were max 2 to 3ft on sets and often closed out. The quality of water was highly doubtful as I often spotted rubbish and some brownish stuff floating. My eyes also became itchy at times. Nevertheless, the best aspect of surfing here was that there was no crowd; the maximum number of guys I saw on the line-up was 4. This would never happen in Japan.

@ The 5th week (~ 2012/11/06)
Places visited: Kovalam & The Sripuram outside Vellore

How lucky and funny is it that I spent the last week of my stay in this country with one of India's most acclaimed gurus along with some of his international followers?!
During my stay at the Sripuram what I found very fascinating was that Amma and I were born in the same year - 1976. While Amma was probably raised with the most utmost care as the avatar of Narayani in South India, I was raised by non-religious parents in a classless residential city called Kasugai, Central Japan. And just depending on our birthplaces and religious beliefs, one's life can be completely different from the other's. Amma could have been me and I could have been him.
To warship somebody who is still alive seems very bizarre to me. Amma is not a guru with supernatural powers. He does not materialise anything for anybody (Be very skeptical if your guru claims so.) However, Amma could help you become god-conscious. Unfortunately, that didn't work for me. But look! I'm a surfer and am obsessed with surfing and am tirelessly looking for a wave of my life which is probably equivalent to enlightenment or salvation that most of Amma's devotees are madly seeking. So we are very similar.... In a way.


Sheer beauty and enigma along with so much rubbish, so much noise and so many people all coexist in India. This land of spirituality is definitely not in my top-5 favourite destinations but probably one of the most unique countries I've ever been to before. Something in this country always made me confused, grumpy, impatient, frustrated and even angry at times. But when I looked around, nobody seemed impatient or angry. I then often questioned myself; "Umm, there may be nothing wrong in India. Perhaps, something wrong with me....?"
India turned out to be a great eye-opener for me in the end.

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