As I sit at Madurai station awaiting my 30-hour sleeper train northwards - I'm full of mixed emotions. Not one for goodbyes, it was difficult to leave behind so many wonderful people.
I'll miss the loving family of Ama and Apa (my Indian mum and dad), the three meals per day regardless of the spiciness. Coffees with Rajan and the team of serious journalists. I think I'll even miss the 9.30pm curfew.
Marco Polo also spent a few months here almost 800 years before me. he dubbed it: "the most noble and splendid province in the world." As merely one of the city's most promising (and only) foreign journalists, who am I to disagree. Truth-seeking in this part of the world is filled with struggles. Historical facts are often a matter of opinion here but I'm sure I got to the bottom of some crucial, hard-hitting issues.
My search for inner peace hasn't been so fruitful yet. Seek and ye shall find they say - so my mission continues. Venturing towards the Dalai Lama HQ, I wonder if he'll have time for chai. Maybe he's already expecting me.
When I mentioned to Yogi the yoga master it was my last session with him, he sternly replied: "No, no. I will always be with you now. It is never the last day. I will be in your heart wherever you are and we will always be together." How poignant. I almost cried. The positivity is immense here. Ama said something similar: "The world is round." And for sure they'll be in my heart forever.
Peeling the 30+ onions before saying goodbye didn't help either. Ama, Apa, their little Indian princess and the gang probably thought I was crying. Not very manly Danielson.
I hope one day I'll return to this incredible subcontinent. Now like Egypt, India is in my blood. It may have all begun in Africa, but it blossomed in India. We truly bonded. Mika Nandri (thank you very much) Madurai.