Every visit to Madras brings a sense of being in a candy store. The metaphor is not readily translatable, but one that must be savored and enjoyed for what it is. I wish I could take you with me.
On first touch you are never quite sure of what you are getting or what is going to happen. The surface is unlike anything anywhere else in the world. The early assumptions are conclusions based on visual links to places, times, and people with no connection or similarities to the present. As you allow yourself to experience what is going on around you it is easy to be overwhelmed on all fronts. Sounds, smells, textures, grit, and the temperature (frequently hot and muggy) all threaten to pushes your senses beyond their capacity to understand, absorb, or even tolerate! Yet, one step at a time, slowly allowing oneself to stay in the present, begins to open one up to something new, exciting, and ultimately very satisfying.
The surprise that comes with experience defies the logic that your senses have already pushed to a conclusion. Where else in the world do I have a business center that went from concept to reality (new construction and everything that comes with it) in forty-five days? Can I site another example of a group of people that thrive on chaos and change? Do I know of people more eager to listen, learn, and take things beyond anyone imagination?
The challenge is subtle. What does one do with this much opportunity and potential? It is almost too easy to assume that pushing everything constantly to the optimum is the right answer. Fortunately Wisdom gives us perspective.
“When you’re given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down; eat too much chocolate and you’ll make yourself sick; and when you find a friend, don’t outwear your welcome; show up at all hours and he’ll soon get fed up.” (Proverbs 25.16, 17)
The opportunity in Madras is not unique; it is everywhere. The question is – what are we going to do with it?