3 months of early morning trainings at 6am, Saturdays fully taken with swim meets and morning races, afternoons at the pool blowing the whistle while the team blows their soul out of each stroke...this is what it took to make it to MESAC, the Middle East South Asia Conference www.mesac.org, where schools from Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Delhi, Doha and Dubai get together to compete in different sports.
This year, for the first time, the swimming races were held at the American Embassy School of New Delhi!!! Pretty lucky for my first year of coaching!!!
It's a clear sunny morning in Dubai, at 11.30 Shalene (one of the other coaches) and I are waiting for 24 kids heading to the airport. Their laughs and smiles on the bus give me a boost of energy. The carelessness of their teenage years reminds me my little sister Bianca and their friends a few years ago...and if I make an harder jump back in my memory, they even remind me my own friends from high school and myself going on field trips with school. We didn't have fancy sports tournaments or other traveling opportunities, but there was that one "gita" (field trip) at the end of the senior year that everyone was waiting for with anticipation.
We spent a wonderful 4 days in Delhi: the kids fought for each spot on the podium while us, coaches, were loosing our voices inciting them at each lap. It was nice to watch them bonding with each other and making new friends.
And what to say about India?
I haven't seen much...and I don't want to sound one of those people who arbitrarily say: " OMG, India changed my life forever !!!" and they become all "spiritual" scheduling 8 yoga classes a week! India deserves more, it deserves genuineness and sincerity because that's what India gives you.
Everything you see is true, it's essence of life and that includes, yes, misery and poverty but not only. The strongest powers of Delhi are its colors, the sounds, smells (surely bad sometimes but nice and unique more often than you'd think)...and the smiles. I've seen the most explosive laughs and propelling smiles ever! Indians are funny, they have good hearts and they're not afraid to show it, even if they're loosing their advantage in a bargain.
I haven't seen much, I know, but this is what I truly and briefly need to say about India.
I'll go back one day. I hope to see more, I hope to see Bombay and trace all the places described in the novel I'm reading right now "Shantaram". I hope Thomas will change his mind and will go with me one day. He has been there before and, let's say, he thinks it's enough. But Thomas is my favorite fellow traveller and I can't imagine a better person to travel India with...