Well, so much for settling down! ha ha haa hah hah haah haaaaaa!
Tomorrow morning I will board a creaky Indian bus to Delhi where I will collect my young cousin-sister, Cristina, from the airport. We'll spend one steamy, polluted night in Delhi before heading back to Rishikesh. I was hoping to ease her in with a semi-humane train ride, but as it's the height of the tourist season, it looks like she might have her first Bus Ride From Hell a bit sooner than planned. I guess it makes sense not to waste time, since she only stays for 25 days.
We'll spend a few days here in The Kesh so I can pack and store all my things before we head up the mountain. We have a nice company coming together for our first Yatra (holy pilgrimage); two Indian men and one famous Japanese guitar player. First it's the bus to Uttarkashi (6 hours) and from there we walk to Gangotri, approximately 150 km. From what I hear, we should clock about 30 km each day...but only God knows for sure.
From there it's only another 15 km to Gomukh, the origin of Ganga Ma!! Yatra mangalme ho!
. . .
Temperatures here in The Kesh are currently hovering around 40 C (100 F). Just yesterday I stepped out of the internet shop to discover the monsoon had arrived; lightning, thunder and sheets of falling rain had flooded the streets in a matter of minutes. Unprepared for flash flooding, I carried my shoes in a plastic bag and gritted my teeth as I waded through the murky waters. Taking cover under a plastic sheet, I made my way to the chai shop where I found a cow crumpled into a lifeless heap on the corner, flies crawling on it's huge black eyes.
Just ten minutes before, the power line above the corner had snapped and fallen, electrocuting the cow. Luckily, the cow had absorbed most of the current and no people were hurt. God works in mysterious ways, no?
An hour later I stood silent while six Indian men hoisted the cow's body up onto the back of a cart, pulling on its hind legs and using a thick bamboo stick for leverage. I gasped when the cow's head swung into the back of the cart with a heavy thud. Then, all in a day's work, they wheeled the body away to Ganga.
I looked up at the sky to see the sun peeking though the clouds. And I understood it was a bad idea to walk around in the pouring rain.
. . .
Back home I am nothing special, but here I am a magnet for the Indian men. Even the babas are making overtures. In the last weeks the "problem" has ballooned, and swamiji is fed up with my antics. Consensus is that I must retire to an ashram in the mountains for the solitude that is so necessary to fulfill my purpose here. So I will pack my things and say goodbye to The Kesh - a.k.a. Spiritual Disneyland. First it's a month of travelling/yatra adventure and from there it's anybody's guess..
and admit that the waters around you have grown
and accept it that soon, you'll be drenched to the bone
if your time to you is worth saving...
then you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone