There is something magical about standing in an airport in India and looking at the departure board. It fills me with a sense of possibility. Like, there is so little between me and a departing flight to somewhere I’ve never been before. What if I just walked through the doors of Gate 12? I would be in Srinagar in an hour. Or what about Gate 14? I would be in Trivandrum in three.

It’s especially fun to daydream about these things in India, where so many of the destinations listed on the departure board are places I’ve heard of for years, in old stories, almost as if they are fairy tales. It would be like going to the airport and realizing there were flights to Narnia or Shangri-La or Oz. That’s how it feels to me sometimes…

The place I ended up is one of my favorites, though: I am in Jaipur, the Pink City. This weekend, I’ll be speaking at The INK Conference. I came here five years ago, in January of 2006, and I remember how awed I was by the beauty of Jaipur, how deeply I fell in love with Rajasthan and its rich artistic tradition. I met a young musician on the road that runs near Jal Mahal (an ancient palace built in the middle of a lake), and he let me try the single-stringed instrument he played, that he had made himself — I still remember the tune he taught me.

The ring I have worn every day for five years has finally found its way home. I couldn’t be happier to be back.

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