The days and nights rumbled past in the company of those who hear the Saints or aspire to do so and my Ganga bath gets put on hold in the absence of time. So it’s with some surprise after dealing with immediate fall out of Nada having her handbag stolen on the train that a have a fall out of my own… The trap door is opened as Ameoba descend upon my intestines and I arrive on the doorstep of Nada and Jesper’s family friends, The Sood’s, a little bedraggled and more than a little worse for wear, falling into a feint like fugue from the passing of too many ‘watery motions’ from my Colitus in 43 degree (113) heat.
Bringing nothing but bad health and a very British desire not to be any bother, I’m loathe to inconvenience this kind family and further, but they turf uncle Neeraj out of his room to the greenhouse room on roof, carry my bags over and deposit me in a room with a bathroom attached and a loo with a seat and a very hard working fan.
A moment of over confidence with half a chapatti on day three and I’m back on the bog and off to the Dr for some allopathic meds as my lovely friend Nada and her fiance Jesper stop trying to chase their shadows (physical demonstration by one of the wise old souls) depart for Delhi and all sorts of passport/visa replacing rigmarole with embassies.
I build back my strength under the care of Anurag & Tracy, Grandma and the girls Mahima, Asmita and Uma and their patiently prepared Kitchari (Rice and Moong Dal Ayurvedic combo, effectively the Indian version of Heinz Tomato soup. Interesting poll opportunity actually… what do you eat when you’re sick?). I’m pleased to see the Universe applying the scales of balance and she taketh awayeth a few of those Indian ‘buffer’ kilos she’d so generously loaned me.
I take my last 5 O’clock meditation and satsang with dear old Bharadwaj, a semi-realised sweet old saint and help him celebrate his 95th birthday by singing him a Bhajan about Shiva and avoiding sweet, sweet chai and sweet, sweet indian sweets & vegetable pakoras that leave a grease track behind on your lips. My unhappy stomach gives me the strength to resist the chai and all but one square of burfy out of politeness.
Buoyed by the kindness of this family who opened up their home and their hearts to me (and who taught me how to make chapatti!) and by the wisdom of a beautiful old soul, I board a bus to Dharamshala. The sun beats down on the bus whilst it snakes through the mountains to cooler climes and a delightful shanti shanti atmosphere, nestled in the himalayas with the Tibetan exiles who fled the ‘Cultural revolution’ of Chinese occupation in 1959.
With a culture entirely unique to that of it’s oppressive and heavy fisted, mighty brother and a totally different religion, Tibetans just want the autonomy to handle their own affairs, to retain their culture in their land and not be swallowed up by China’s greedy gorging on their land and resources as it opens it palms to Capitalism and the power that brings such a populous nation so short on space…
They want to be able to welcome foreigners to their beautiful country without being denouced and detained for political activism for talking to them. They want to be able to take their children home to see their ancestral home and spin the prayer wheels of the Potala not just it’s replica.
Whilst Matt and I undoubtedly disagree as to the validity of China’s claim on this massive land mass, the recent treatment of the monks protest in Lhasa adds some credibility to these claims and cultural and physical genocide the Chinese are so keen to play down in the lead up to commonwealth olympic games. Building of the Gormo-Lhasa railway saw more than 1.1 m people arrive in the Tibetan autonomous region in the first 6 months of 2007, predicting more than 4 m throughout 2007, more than the overall indigenous population of the entire area!
Not content with taking such good care of me thus far, the universe sends along another of it’s Angels as I almost quite literally, bump into another one of my yoga buddies within 2 mins of setting foot in McCloud Gange. Miss Switzerland, as I like to call her, even though she has a fabulously double-barrelled French surname ‘Petit-Pierre’, and I, wile away the days talking ayurveda and exploring the much lauded local waterfall/small tap’fall’.
Then my friends, Mother India carefully carries me back to my ancestral home, into the arms of my parents before they leave me behind for the Castro brothers and the sassy salsa of Cuba. And I take it real shanti, shanti as my hands take a break from handwashing everything I’ve worn these past 4 months and my clothes thirstly lap up a dose of fabric softner; and I practice yoga with the sun streaming in the back doors and making me feel content and happy to be back on British soil for how ever long I manage to stay this time… 😉
See you all soon.
May we love all equally & without hestitation
OM OM OM