Every time I arrive in India, the country takes me by surprise. I think I have mentally prepared for all the overwhelming impressions, from the beautiful smile off the ‘baba’ living on the street to the smell of fresh cow dung on your shoe, to the chanting by the Ganges river at sunset. I doesn’t matter how much time I have spent in this country, every time I arrive it puts me out of my comfort zone, and teaches me about life, again. After two days and nights of traveling we wake up in our sleeper bus, a very cold morning in Rishikesh, SOOOOOOOOOO much colder then expected! The wind is following the speed of Ganga as she removes the traces of last night’s pooja (Hindu ceremony). Every night at sunset the shores of Ganga are filled with travellers, pilgrims and spiritual seekers from all over the world.
We are walking around searching for a place with early risers to heat up with a cup of Masala Chai. The very essence of India in my opinion. The only thing the street stalls are missing is the soymilk! So, for our vegan way of living we have to settle with a black chai for now. The plan is to go back to the wonderful family I stayed with the last time I was in Rishikesh. Unfortunately to my huge disappointment they are full!! I was super excited to show Sabin the place I see as a magical little hidden gem with the best view of Ganga and the mountains, apparently not that hidden anymore. My friend there, the daughter of the owners just got married the day before and was leaving to stay with her newfound husbands’ family. A mix of joy, fear and sadness seemed to have met her since I left more than 3 years ago. Arranged marriage is still the norm in India and for many it is the desired way of finding the suitable life partner. As a critical European having my judgmental look on arranged marriage I have had many conversations with Indians telling me that they trust their parents to make the decision. They exceed themselves in life knowledge, experience and they trust their desire of happiness for the children. Well, after wandering around to find our place to stay for the next month or more we ended up at the edge of Ganga, with a view that is not to bad! (pic on top) We are now enjoying all the knowledge, sense impressions, yoga, sunsets, yummy food, the streets wildlife (cows, monkeys and dogs) and smiles that Rishikesh is generously providing us with.
Until next time, live happy, healthy with lots of love for yourself and the world.