November 1, 2009 – Free At Last
Well, to my pleasant surprise, my newfound freedom in spontaneity is truly a part of my life for the first time in 62 years. Although I haven’t yet posted my personal experience from the wedding last week, this is where I first felt this wonderful sense of joy derived from freedom and spontaneity, but today’s activities will to suffice for now to give you a feeling of the joy I am experiencing this trip.
Today my plan was to go into the market, buy myself a pressure cooker, and then come home and Seema teach me how to use it, after which I would prepare my first meal in a pressure cooker in over 40 years. The last time I cooked something in a pressure cooker was in Stuart Gardens in Newport News Virginia, when I cooked a pot of chicken soup which decided to explode all over the kitchen, from floor to ceiling and all the walls….luckily I was not hurt, but it so traumatized me, that in all these years I have refused to try again. I finally made the decision to do just that upon my return to India this year, to simply save me time and money on gas in my room, and my neighbor was happy to teach me how to properly use one.
All in all, this seemed like a nice plan for a day, but to my great surprise and pleasure, the day developed in a completely different and unexpected way…and was certainly lots more fun!!
I left my room to go to the market, and for the first time ever, took nothing along with me “just in case”. No shawl in case it got chilly, no food in case I got hungry and there was “nothing anywhere around to eat”, etc, . I knew where I wanted to shop as I had been there last year, found the place easily, found what I wanted to purchase quickly, in less than 10 minutes was finished with my shopping. Back to the main street to get a rickshaw home, when all of a sudden, it hit me, that I had a whole day free, was already downtown, the weather was lovely, no one was expecting me at any special time, so why rush back. Began walking around and remembered I wanted to check prices for external DVD’s for my new laptop, so headed off to the computer store. Checked things out there and then thought “hmmm….that’s it?…go home?….no, wait….I can walk to my favorite beauty salon in 10 minutes and get the best facial in the world!”. I found this thought quite surprising, even shocking, as in the past, I would never consider something like this. I would begin to think about the time, and soon I would need to eat, and how much water do I have left and do I have makeup in my bag to fix myself up after the facial, and was I wearing clothing which was suitable, etc., etc., etc. And not one of these thoughts seemed relevant in any way. I just set off down Railway Road, got to the beauty salon where the owner was very pleased to see me again, and in ten minutes I had changed into a gown and began 2 hours of complete and total pampering.
I finished up that, came back out, felt a little hungry, and decided to call a friend who lives in town and see if she was home. I’ve NEVER done this before in all the years I’m coming here. Never did something like this on the spur of the moment. Well, she said it would be GREAT if I came over and she would be home “after half hour”, which in India means at least 1 hour. So, what to do for 1 hour????
Silly question – I am a woman, with money, and free time in the middle of the main Market in downtown rishikesh – obviously – GO SHOPPING!! Which I did. And bought two beautiful pairs of shoes, after trying on about 15 pair, all of which fit beautifully, were comfortable, and not expensive and looked wonderful. Choosing which 2 to take was the hardest part of the day!. After that, I realized that only 45 minutes had gone by, so kept walking through the market and came to the BEST lassi bar in all of India…Pappu Lassi. Sat down to the magnificent taste of one of their freezing cold lassis, and enjoyed every moment and every drop….actually licked the cup clean.
By then an hour had passed, I called my friend again, but there was no answer (not surprised) but I walked towards her house, and when I got there, she had still not arrived…but she lives in an open courtyard complex with her whole extended family of in-laws etc, and so just walked in and made myself at home. Her husband was there, and so I sat and spoke with him until she came in, just about ten minutes later.
She went into the kitchen, and in 15 minutes produced the most delicious meal I’ve eaten since arriving. (I know she is a good cook, and most of this was prepared before she went out, but not specially for me so I didn’t feel like I was putting her out in anyway).
We sat and talked for another while, and then, around 4 I really started to get tired, said my goodbyes, and happily set out for home.
Back on the main street I hailed the first rickshaw that came along, and again, in the past, I never would have gotten into it. It already had 7 people in the back and two in the front but I was welcomed aboard, and sat down, as the Indians do, pretty much on the legs of two people until they each squeezed as much as possible to the side so the slightest portion of my bum found purchase on the edge of seat and my arm hung onto the outer rung for dear life. My purchases of course sat on other peoples feet, and no one seemed to think anything strange about any of this.
I arrived home, showed my purchases to my friend Seema, (who it turns out was worried since I had called her at 10:30 in the morning from the shop and she expected me home right after that, and she knows I am not an adventurous person). I told her about my day etc. and she was very proud of me, and loved my new shoes by the way, as did her mother in law.. And as all good Indians do, asked how much I paid for everything and concluded that I had made very sound purchases in addition to having an amazing day.
So many wonderful things can happen by surprise if you are not limited by your fears and worries! None of this was planned and this entire delightful day would NEVER have happened in the past
FREE AT LAST!!!