“Close your eyes and say once: “India” …” Even as a child, I loved the beginning of The Jungle Book and it awakened a longing in me. Even later, when I was on a journey to find myself, India was always a part of it. When Carina Maiwald offered this trip again in 2019, I was torn, as I had actually already planned a trip to southern Italy. But my sister encouraged me to take the plunge and make this dream come true.

And it was indescribable! India is indescribable. I’ve never been better prepared for a trip, I’ve never been more scared and I’ve never been more excited. Everything is simply different in India. India is not Europe, it is a different continent, a completely different life!

In India, wealthy people have servants who live in their house. In India, you go out onto the street from your guest house and walk a little way. Maybe just twenty meters until you come across a naked child looking for food in the garbage. A puppy has joined him and two cows lie chewing their cud next to him. The sacred cow that no one looks after. The holy cow eats garbage and is hungry!

In India, no one speaks your language, everyone wants money, photos with you and looks at you like a pink circus horse because you are white and possibly even blonde. And you don’t wear a poisonous sari. Nevertheless, everyone treats you well, whether they have something or not. I have rarely met such friendly people.

India blew me away. It’s so beautiful and so incredibly ugly. On the days in the city, the sun was just a glowing red ball in the sky during the day. The air is so heavy and poisonous, especially on Diwali. No firecracker is DIN approved and some are so loud that they almost rupture your eardrums. And there are so many people in the city, so many tuktuks, mopeds, cars and carriages with horses, donkeys or camels harnessed to them. It’s so loud, there are so many smells …

I left a part of me there and I hope that I can go back to find it again.