Returned from India a little over two weeks ago now and the impression the experience has provided me is as strong as ever. It was a fabulous trip made so by my interaction with each and everyone of you and all that you brought set against the mesmerising diversity that India encapsulates. I thank each and every one of you for this shared experience and look forward to the next venture to Rishikesh. For those of you who make up our weekly vedanta group, I am always grateful for your presence and your contributions because only by your regular attendance does the group thrive and with it my spiritual progress.
Finally, a few observations from Rishikesh. Lounging in the Royal Cafe at Lakshman Jhula with Will, ( text book in hand always, this was not a holiday!) perched over the Ganga watching Langur monkeys feeding on the bright red flowers in the Coral trees. A wonderful place to hang out in a tree house like setting and a great escape from the chaotic hubbub of the streets below. (Us and the monkeys).
Late early morning at the ashram, about seven am, (the day here can start at five am) Walking along the promenade, the air cool, the pavement already busy with the early risers, young men exercising, numerous dogs sniffing out a morsel. The Ganga providing an every present gentle shuush sound, always active, never the same river viewed. Sun breaking over the steep hill side opposite and bathing the surrounding foothills in a peachy warm glow that heralds the new day and causes me to pause and give thanks for being here.
Walking along the same promenade that led via various ghats and levels to Ram Jhula just past the construction for what looks like a new bridge.
It is wash day and numerous women are doing laundry in the river and bathing. Fifty or more up to their knees and the river reflects what the women are dressed in, the richest colours of burgundy and deep purple, trimmed with gold and red. Like numerous exotically coloured birds. It is stunning to behold. The glamorous colours masking the duty of the task, To my eyes it is beautiful.
Isobel and I watching a young lady tourist smack an adult Langur monkey on the head when it snatched items of shopping from her friends bag. It escaped with a packet of wet wipes and a sachet of what looked like tumeric. We only determined that by the strong yellow staining to its fur across a cheek and down one flank. I wonder if it ever realised the value of the wet wipes or rejected them as foul tasting garbage.
Taking numerous dunks in the Ganga with Nicky. After days of promising too and ohh, it's not warm enough today, I finally stripped down to my shorts and being assured by Nicky I wouldn't get a) washed away by the current and b) wouldn't contract some hideous bug by contact with the water we ventured in and did the three total submersions. Once out and astonished by in comparison how hot and sultry the air was compared to the frigid temperature of the water we went in again and repeated the dunking exercise twice more.
In the taxi back to Delhi. I'm sat in the back with the luggage, Isobel, Sonali and Ram plus our driver all sat ahead of me. I'm trying to avert my eyes from the ever seeming threat of near collisions. Traffic slows as we enter a town, I witness the young men in a tuk tuk, half a dozen of them crammed inside craning their necks to see inside our car. Curious I try to see what they do, I realise they are looking at Isobel's long blonde hair. One of the men notices me watching him and doesn't bat an eye.
Thank you India and thanks to all of you!
Pic Courtesy -Rishikesh photos by William Luscoumbe