A Travellerspoint blog

A Bid Farewell

India Round 1 Complete

A 32 year-old, unmarried woman (Indians are so worried when they find out I'm not married) takes her first trip on the infamous Indian Railway. Not to be worried; she was sensible enough to book First Class (3AC as it is locally known) for the first adventure. Can't shock the system with too big a dose of third world realness straight out the gate. Gotta ease into it.

I've booked 5 consecutive train trips over the next 10 days. Two of them happening today. First Rishikesh to Delhi @ 6am then Delhi to Jaipur, the "Pink City" at 5:30 pm where I will stay the next four days. Both 3AC train rides. AC meaning just as it does in the States...AIR CONDITIONED. By the last 2 train trips however, I'll be 'slumming it' in 3rd Class known as the SLEEPER class. Three births stacked like bunk beds, one a top another. Please don't be too impressed with my willingess to go Third Class/SLEEPER. I tried to book First Class but it was SOLD OUT! The trains book up fast. I thought I was ahead of schedule booking 2 weeks out only to find that many of my dates and preferred classes were not available.

My journey to the train began before the sun was even thinking about rising. I took a taxi from Rishikesh to Haridwar where the train to Delhi departs. Only a 35 minute drive at 4:30 am; an hour + drive any other time. To get to the taxi, I had to walk about 1/2 mile to cross the Ganges bridge because cars are not allowed over. Most of the city was still sleeping save those who were already up chanting the morning mantras. The cows laid nestled against one another, monkeys hidden high up in the trees and the dogs...those poor unfortunate souls who were reincarnated as dogs in India as opposed to a city like Dallas, Texas where the dogs are free from rabies and have backyards to run in and play dates with other rabie free dogs at specifically designated dog parks...those dogs were the only ones wide awake making a raucus and barking empty threats as I walked past.

  • *****TIME OUT - I am writing this on the first train ride and I just saw a roach crawl under a suitcase!...not mine thankfully. And they call this Frist Class!!! I will pretend as if I didn't see it otherwise my mind will make it worse than it is, my skin will start crawling and I will become unnecessarily irritated. Ignorance shall be my bliss.

Like I was saying.... The moon shined bright over the bridge. The Ganges almost invisible against the night sky. The winds blew strong enough to feel the bridge gently sway. I crossed and the memory of coming across it for the first time in the opposite direction just 3 weeks ago jostled by cows and people while trying to keep up with Vimal rushed back. It is always something viewing things in hindsight. One experience over in the blink of an eye, the next one is uncertain but your confidence level is much higher after completing Round 1 of the journey.

I wasn't even supposed to take the train back from Rishikesh. I promised my Aunt Jan that I would let my Indian bodyguards who originally drove me here drive me to my next cities. She, being a loving Aunt, was worried about my safety. I will be okay Aunt Jan. Other than a mild stench and that one roach it's not so bad.

As I walked across the bridge I felt no sadness in leaving. My weeks in Rishikesh were so full. The days of the week lost meaning because no day was any more impressive than the last. Usually Monday has a certain feeling about it as does Thursday or TGIFriday. But because everyday here here was so special I could never be bothered looking forward to Sunday or next Wednesday. Right now was always so satisfying.

I spent my 32nd birthday here. A day filled doing all things I love: a 4 hour Yoga practice, a Satsang with an enlightened Jamaican called Mooji, a delicious lunch at a restaurant run by and for children from an onsite orphanage, got my nose pierced and enjoyed the sunset over the Ganges with the Aarti in the background. Then, the best part....Skyping my family! My heart smiles when Mom & Dad sing me Happy birthday, the Stevie Wonder remix!

Overall, I absolutely adored this town. I made friends with shop owners and some even know my name. Well, I exaggerate. Only one knows my name and that is because I go see him every other day to get my YOGI BREAD. Whole wheat, dairy-free, banana, chocolate or apple bread made and blessed by Himalayan Yogis. Delivered fresh everyday and still HOT if you pick it up before noon. I also made friends with many travellers and seekers -as I like to call those who quit their jobs and leave their significant others and trek all the way to India off a "feeling." They are no different than I.

One special friend I met is a beautiful Brit named Maria. We ended up being roomies after the Festival and became quick friends which happens easily when you stay up way past the 10pm self imposed bed time discussing Osho, Eckhart, Patanjali, third worlds and spiritual paths. We were each others barometers. A safe space to come back to and compare centers or check that center was still center. Maria wherever I am you are welcome! Sunny California awaits you!

Sister our hostel is turning international! Get the rooms ready. I'm making lots of new friends!

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[b

My Dear Rishikesh,

Where Yoga studios are like Starbucks.
Where wise sages can be mistaken for homeless men
And homeless men for wise sages.
Where Euro hippies find refuge and soy Chais.
Where the Beatles found Transcendental Meditation.
Where seekers come for truth or a version of it.
Thank you Rishikesh.
Until Next Time...Namaste
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Posted by Ivoriejenkins 08:34 Archived in India

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Comments

Finalmente! I have been waiting for this for about a month now! Amazing. Love every word and every punctuation of this. Happy birthday my dear! This is beautiful! Looking forward to the next already -- and keep these gorgeous words coming -- I mean...
My Dear Rishikesh,

Where Yoga studios are like Starbucks.
Where wise sages can be mistaken for homeless men
And homeless men for wise sages.
Where Euro hippies find refuge and soy chais.
Where the Beatles found Transcendental Meditation.
Where seekers come for truth or a version of it.
Thank you Rishikesh.
Until Next Time...Namaste

Are you kidding me!? LOVE love love!

by Casey

Yay hostel! Are we going to start charging? ; )

by tovah

what a beautiful post. i think i know where i have to visit soon. just, wow.

by willis johnston

Happy birthday hunnie!

by LaTrina Houston

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