Incredible India II
The Journey is Important – Not the Destination!
India is a magnificent place! Even if you took one year to tour it from top to bottom, from East to West, it would not be enough. India has such a variety of cultures, climates and colours that you could easily mistake yourself to be in another land after each few hundred miles!
As I write this piece, I am in Uttrakhand in the amazing Himalayas of the North of India. It feels good to be here, after a long and tortuous journey. I almost missed my flight to get here and only caught it because the next plane I had to catch was delayed.
Another name for Uttrakhand is the Land of Gods! This is because the Hindus believe heaven started here. It also contains the four most Holy pilgrimage places for Hindus (char dham Yatra). The virgin beauty of nature here is amazing and for this reason, and also because of the huge amount of faith and worship of the pilgrims, the energy in the atmosphere is very high.
The rolling mountains are green and never-ending. A symphony of birds awaken you in the morning. They sound happy and thriving. There are flowers (and insects!!!) of all kinds like I have never seen before. The valley is alive and prosperous with abundant fruit trees and vegetable plants.
We have spent thirteen hours in a small car on the road so far – all of it on roads that cling to the side of a mountain. One dare not look down into the valley, as it is a long drop down! The River Ganges snakes its way along parallel to the road. The adventure is thrilling to say the least! At times we were literally “on the edge” of the road as we tried to avoid the fallen rocks from recent landslides after the rains. Some roads were closed off as they were blocked or completely destroyed! That was when we decided to take a detour, and other adventures started! We took the smaller, even narrower roads – still all on the mountain edge – and these were shrouded in fog and rain. Add to that the darkness of the night and the constant threat of other falling rocks or landslides… it was almost like being in an adventure movie! We are now almost 3000 metres above sea level.
Our driver Manoj was experienced and super bold. It seemed that nothing could stop him and his little car in its tracks. We plodded on courageously.
After driving thirteen hours almost non-stop, Manoj finally spoke up and told us that we couldn’t go any further. We needed to take a halt in the next town!
Friends directed us over the phone to some “deluxe” and “super deluxe” accommodation, which was far from deluxe by any standards! So we turned to our good friend Google, and we identified a Bed and Breakfast hotel which was run by an Indian widowed mother. We phoned her and she welcomed us; luckily she had a few rooms free. It turned out to be a charming big pink and blue coloured house with a brilliant 180 degree view of the mountains from our verandah.
Her son, a tall and intelligent soft spoken fellow, spoke excellent English with a western accent. He introduced us to his dog and three friends who were visiting him from Mumbai. I went to shower first and noticed a long thick trail of flying ants on the window pane.
I had heard somewhere that you can talk to ants and tell them to go away and they will. So I thought, let me try it! I said to the ants “Hello, can you please leave here?. We have booked the B and B!!” I took my shower, and lo and behold, by the end of it, the majority of the ants had departed.
After my shower, we discovered that I had used up all the water and there was none left for the others!! So the son carted up a bucket of hot and a bucket of cold water. The next morning they would do the same!
We were gradually getting used to India once again! Its smells, noises, lack of facilities, and lacksdaisical attitude!
The next morning everyone was up and around the verandah by around 6:30am. We chatted about meditation and talked about the different places of interest in the area.
Manoj was eager to get on the road again, as he had to make the full return journey in the same day. We ate our healthy fruits and tahini and hurried along, finally reaching our destination after another two hours. We were now approximately 4000 metres above sea level and it was taking us time to acclimatize. All the unpleasant symptoms of being at such a high altitude were setting in.
The lessons learnt on the journey were many. Tests were coming but so were the solutions.
During those few hours on the narrow road at night, we decided to stay in silence and meditation. This instilled in us faith, and a sense of being carefree. I reaffirmed to myself that I was a soul, and an imperishable being, and that however this turned out, would be just great!
We didn’t panic, we stayed cool and light.
The power of meditation, and a soul consciousness awareness really creates a sense of security during such moments. I trusted that we would be taken care of, and we were! The place is so remote, that it was a miracle we managed to get an internet connection, and amazing that we found the small hotel with room for us to stay!
We were also grateful for having such a decent and respectable driver whose only mission was to get us to our door safely.
So all in all, the journey is important and not just the destination.
It’s time… to savour every moment of the journey!
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK