5-23 June, 2009
We left for the unknown only three weeks ago, but it might as well have been three months. How can I possibly offer a glimpse of my last weeks to you with mere words? How can I fit a thousand stories into a few paragraphs?
We left Rishikesh a group of three: me, Atsushi and Koji (both Japanese). After two days we met three babas from Manali and the six of us walked together for four days. At the hot springs in Gangnani, we had a chance meeting with Alex (German) and he walked with us for several days until a sprained ankle took him off the trail. Two days before we reached Gomukh, Koji turned back for health reasons. That left me and Atsushi to reach our final destination.
A journey inspired by my strong connection to Mother Ganga, it was at turns difficult and exhilarating. I had moments of inspiration and moments of real fear. Almost everything I saw and experienced was new. We reached Gomukh on the 8th day, but my own adventure was just beginning..
It was somehow inconceivable to ride a bus back to Rishikesh, so in the last five days I found myself traveling alone with our three babas and their dog named Baby. We slept on concrete floors in temples and ashrams, ate whatever was offered and bathed in Ganga when possible. My female status was an awkward fact for all involved, to say the least.
Babas are wandering Hindu monks...
but I am too exhausted to write this story now...it could take weeks to unravel and is simply too far from the world I come from.
For now I'll just share a few things I learned:
I discovered that I can walk. I discovered that I am strong. I discovered that it is difficult to be a woman in a man's world, and worse if you are a single one. I learned how to make quick decisions and to fully utilize my intuition. And I proved, once again, that human beings are truly able to adapt to anything. And that necessity is a powerful motivator.
. . .
I'll let the pictures do the talking. All I can say for sure is that walking is what I am supposed to do right now, and after a few more days rest here in Rishikesh, I will pack my bag and set off for another adventure into the unknown.
Jai Shri Ram,
PS My cousin sister Cristina is on her way to Peru and has a blague of her own now...you can read her impressions of Rishikesh and follow her adventures here.
huge Indian family from Madya Pradesh. They fed me strange Indian concoctions
and kept me up all night with questions.
This one is unique because it has no spelling errors.
busses and jeeps flew past spewing black exhaust fumes. But we refused to die.
Kali is the full-power Goddess of destruction.
Westerners from L to R: Alex, me, Atsushi, and Koji.
A detour from the road took us to this baba house, where we met a baba couple (Kali babas, dressed in all black and covered in holy ashes (vibuthi)). They have been living here for ten years.
We had to leave him two days before as he was striken with severe diahrrea.
Unexpected reunion is so sweet !
and the scape turned to rocks and mountain goats.
with songs and prayers instead.
He often scolded me for laughing and smiling too much.
where we could sleep.