I woke up this morning in our hotel in Rome – all I could hear was the whir of the air conditioning – no exotic birds, no throb of traffic, no children laughing below. I know we’ll have a beautiful day walking around this beautiful city (in fact, dear Rogues, we’re meeting Patrick Baliani, author of The Decameron, for dinner here in his native city), but a part of my life is continuing in India.
One of the most striking memories will be from 3:00 a.m. on Friday morning, waiting with Joe for my taxi to take me to the airport. The street was quiet except for an occasional truck and one thin woman in a sari with a huge basket on her head walking along in the dark. When my driver arrived, he took the northern country route to the airport, along near-deserted two-lane streets at a break-neck speed of 100 km an hour, weaving in and among nighttime trucks. It was a last thrilling adventure in India (although it felt at times like it might be the last adventure of my life!).
On the last night of the play, I studied the audience closely – a sea of young, dark faces with bright and open smiles. I can’t quite describe the openness of so many of the people we met – it’s as if there’s no sarcasm, no urban hardness, no reason to be closed or angry. The sincerity of the people we met was breathtaking and beautiful. When we talk about coming back to India, this is what we want to return to.
Tom is singing tomorrow with his choir at the Vatican. Then a week of travel in Italy. And then home. Home. Home.