The best measure of time. Watching your daughter become a woman. Above is a picture of Georgia aged 20 before leaving for India.
When her future daughter turns Twenty she’ll ask “How did my mother let me go to India, at such a young age?” The answer is complex. It spans generations of female traveller’s in our family and a long story.
The courage to set my girl free is a short story. Beginning’s tell you a lot. At 36 I was a late first-time mother. Inspired by the will of this unborn girl I named her after Georgia O’Keefe the American Artist. O’Keefe was independent, talented and before her time. She had an interesting life that fascinated me.
To be named after such an amazing woman will set a benchmark when I was afraid, the inspiration for both for myself and my daughter. I hoped her courage would rub off on us. Turns out I’m right.
Georgia announced she’s going to India for six months on an exchange program for University. Quite casually as if to say “I’m going to the movies tonight.”
One of those moment when times slow’s “Did I just hear that correctly?” In rush of thoughts I say, “You’re Twenty, you’ve never been out of the country and you, you want to go and LIVE in India?”
Silent Pause. “Right. Right just give me a moment to think” I said waiting until I could muster something to say.
“With the wild thing’s I’ve done, I can tell you India is Holy Grail, reserved as the Queen of Adventure and not for a first-time traveller. Are you nuts or clueless or both? India, of all places!.”
[That went well]
With the pause of a skilled negotiator. She responded with a steady, calm flow of reasons why going to India would be ok. More than ok. A cliche that several groups had blazed this trail before and survived! One redeeming factor was they would go as a group (safety in numbers, another cliche).
O’Keefe’s spirit seeped into my dreams that night. How could I hold her back? I had to gather some courage.
Was this the right time, she is so young?. Naturally, my thoughts turned back to America when at Twenty Four I left [on my own] nothing planned other than two nights stay in Post Street San Fransisco. No research, clueless about staying in POST Street. Surprised by fog and freaked out by the earthquakes.
I stayed Fifteen months living in Santa Cruz CA. The late ’70s was a wild time for the young and free. Compared to then, India today started to look like a safer option. Who was I fooling?
I was freaked out about the risks, my research took to new heights. In a frenzy, I started an intimate relationship with Google. I learnt more about India than a Mother ought to know. This lead to a poignant moment when Georgia said: “Do you think I can do this, will I be ok?”… “should I go?”
Silent Pause. “Absolutely, India is THE most fascinating country that God put breath into. You can’t miss this opportunity.” I said with a lump in my throat.
A sense of Déjà vu, sounding like “That’s the best movie in the world, you can’t miss it.”
“We had come full circle, India was calling”