my trip has come to an end - the 10 day study of eastern philosophy - mainly tibetan buddhism at a retreat was great - an amazing experience, the dalai lamas translator for 14 years came and gave us a talk too which was tops. in the past few days i went to a sufi concert with about 20 people and another friend from central america turned up and we caught up which was ace.
3 of us also hiked to the mountain nearby to the hillstation at triand, no electricity, no water and 6000ft up and above the clouds, the photos do not do it justice. the hike was tough and had to carry 30kg too. was somuch fun up there.
what a great trip - i learned so much and met some amazing people who are now solid friends.
check out the map for the whole route i took. tomorrow off to delhi then bombay to catch flights.
to wrap up, a little bit of a poem about india......
india indianises everything, whatever you bring from your nation or life experiences thus far gets gobbled up, and within a week you are dressing
indian and glued into the culture without ever deciding so.
the smiles, the innocence, the difference, the respect and honour in all human interaction gets you.
like a hive mind, ten people will circle you and stare, and 4 or 5 of them will do the shared talking, they are connected and maintain physical contact at all times.
millions of ppl werever you go, and what looks so much like chaos has a majestic order to it all.
in one day you can walk down the street to a shop and end up in two weddings a cricket game, a family meal and experience logisitical red tape that could frustrate a buddhist monk.
Everything is possible. All is possible. But not possible.
deserts, beaches, snow, heat, dust, mountains, storms, temples, monsoon, history, languages, poverty, suffering, rejoicing; there is nothing india does not have.
the gurus, the yoga, the wisdom, the frauds, the babas, the sadus, osho, the healing, the ashrams, the courses, the ancient texts, the food, the tibetans, the music, wow, the music, the dancing, the books, monks in 30 year retreats in caves to acheive nirvana; westerners are there in their droves to swallow some of indias soul,
and india happily obliges and gives selflessly.
There are no limits, the 'life crossroads' are there every few hours to be crossed, india presents them to you to teach you things you need to know. it knows what you need to know, there is magic in india and it swoops down the nation from the mouth of the ganga and from the nearby tips of the himalayan mountains.
india snatches things from ones grasp, one is in a good situation and BOOM, gone ...or one has planned something and at the last minute india takes it away from you with a smile. it teaches you patience and how these things do not matter.
The interest in you is amazing and they will do all to get to know you, and even though your personal space is invaded to the extreme it all just seems good.
india will never change, it cant, 'India' herself will just gobble up any changes attempted upon her, india is india and it cares not for change because this culture is a beast too big, too ancient and outdoes others via sheer volume and full power.
if a traveller does not get into Indias Shanti vibe
within the first three days then it will break them, and smile mockingly. There is only one way to be in india and that is without plan, with a smile, open, fluid and shanti shanti.
hindu devotion, buddhist devotion, islam devotion, sich devotion, family devotion, ganga devotion, animal devotion, devotion to selling and above all...a devotion to chi, devotional celebrations of life are daily and in many guises and each devotional stream is fluid with the others, there is no division.
children the age of 11 running shops and talking to you with an air of adult authority, kids the age of 6 being mothers, there are few chidren, they are adults in a childrens body.
The railway stations where at 5am it is a mini city, people everywhere, fires, food, chi, sleeping people, washing people, naked people, its alive, and 4 ppl will tell u 4 different directions to your train but you smile and laugh.....it will be 3 hours late anyway.
The busses and rickshaws of bumpiness where the drivers have a death wish, the roads with cattle and holes.
In the middle of nowhere your train will stop and a remote village of huts will launch onto
the track to sell anything and everything. They will wave and smile and look with wondering eyes of which lands you came from.
you watch the sunset from the train with the door wide open looking at the yellow and orange hues cast over even more colourful land workers and fields, you flick your cigarette out and recieve a negative look from someone, even though the train is full of disease, overcrowding, disantry, singers, beggars, sellers, music,transvestites and everything else one can imagine. you wake up with people sleeping all over you, arms and legs everywhere. personal space is something unknown to the collective physce.
After your train you are happy to walk for the first time in two days and remember you are a human only to be confronted by 20 auto and cycle rickshaw drivers fighting for your custom to feed their families; with no order or heirachy they practically pull your arms off in a tug of war, but you look beyond and through them at the dust, the noise and the human vibrance, you look upon your new destination and you feel warm and know it is alright....because this is india -
full power, full on
shiva; a colourful one billion people orchastrating a play of humanity in all its guises. i will see you again india but soon it is back to sterile grey england where the culture, devotion and celebration is the television, saturday high street self cherishing materialism and having more money than others....and paradoxically, the indians look up to England....India, take my advice, do not change a bit for you are an acupuncture pin on for this earth unlike many other countries that are more like daggers.
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