January 9, 2010 – Back to Nature and the Music of Water

January 10, 2010

January 9, 2010 – Back to Nature and the Music of Water

Waking up this morning I had to choose what I would do today…the choices were many: Go to the market to do some shopping and visit my friend Manju, go for a walk down laxshman jhula and back up through ram jhula, go aback to sit by the ganga, go to the waterfall, go walking up through and past the village. During my meditation the answer came through crystal clear and I not only knew that I would be walking up the mountain through the village, but also exactly what I would wear and what I would carry. Had a breakfast of masala chai and paneer parantha up on my terrace, got dressed and headed off. The weather was beautiful, (although it has now gotten a little hazy at 4 in the afternoon), and began walking across the gorge and up to the village. One thing I noticed immediately is that I always had a fear of stray dogs. I actually love dogs, but only those I know personally…all others I’ve always had an irrational fear of and this has been a reason for me not doing many things in the past-like riding my bike around town where I live, walking through neighborhoods where I know dogs roam freely etc. And as soon as I got near the village, dogs began barking, some ferociously, and there was absolutely no fear in me. I simply walked past, sometimes stopping to say hello to the barking dog or staring directly at him, and then walking on. None of them ever followed me. It was quite amazing and very different from my experiences in the past.
Walking up through the village, was initially similar to the walks there last year which you can read about and see pictures of here: Link to Village Walk Post).
But there were new things to see…especially new houses which were being built last year and were now complete

Compare these with this typical village house and you can see the new middle class of India moving up, even in the villages:

This year I decided to take more videos to capture the sounds along the walk…for the entire 1 ½ hours I was walking Read the rest of this entry »

January 8, 2010 – Samosas and Sunsets

January 9, 2010

January 8, 2010 – Samosas and Sunsets

It is once again Friday evening and almost time to light Shabbat candles.  I sit out on my rooftop with the last remains of the week slipping away into the colors of sunset.  It is still comfortable enough outdoors to sit comfortably with a shawl and it is already 6 in the evening.  The days are getting noticeably longer and the warmth of the daytime remains longer than it did even a week ago. I haven’t had to light my heater at all for the past two days and I had been using it for hours each morning and evening for the past few weeks.  I am enjoying music, the colors of nature,

and recalling my lovely day which included, finally, my cooking class.

The class was pleasant, and of course the Ganga view inspiring It was just like sitting in a friend’s kitchen (actually, I WAS sitting in a friend’s kitchen), and watching the techniques she uses to make different dishes.  And of course at the end, I got to eat Read the rest of this entry »

January 7, 2010 – Back to the Simple Pleasures

January 8, 2010

January 7, 2010 – Back to the Simple Pleasures

Finally back to the simple pleasures which make my life in Rishikesh so rich. Beautiful sunny morning to accompany my morning practice and despite the cool air, the sun warms me through to my bones.
And I now sit at my favorite Ganga restaurant (by the way, the picture above was not taken today as I did not have my camera with me, but had it from last year…and the weirdest thing is that it was taken EXACTLY one year ago, on January 7th, 2009 at 10:30 in the morning…which is exactly the day and time I sit writing this!). Ihavebn’t been here in more than 6 weeks and I am now having my favorite breakfast of paneer parantha and masala chai (both of which are really well done here), and not only seeing the Ganga stretched out below as you can see in the above picture, but hearing its voice, as this is the only place that is situated right along the curve of the rapids, and the sound is pure, magical music for body and soul.
So many blessings in s omany small things!
After sitting there for quite some time, I made my way down to the shop which is preparing my second parcel for me, after my friend brought all the stuff down yesterday afternoon. Finished that up and then the weather being so absolutely beautiful, knew I had to just do some walking. By that time it had really warmed up and I had to remove several layers of clothing, and for a good part of the day, was still too warm. So I headed across the bridge, and then instead of heading right as I usually do, turned left and quickly found myself walking along a tree lined road, with several cars and bikes going past, but basically on my own. Even found trees I had seen my first visit to Rishikesh and which gave me loving messages then (here is a link to that post if you’d like to read it):

I’ve looked for them before and did not find them, but today they found me again! I kept walking and was rewarded with a small sand path leading off the main road at a place where I could here the Ganga rapids singing below. Followed the path down not really knowing where it lead and was rewarded with a beautiful stretch of solitary beach with my choice of places to sit, either in the shade or sun. I first chose shade to cool off from the walk, and perched on a huge boulder, sitting on the bag which had my extra clothing in it, and was a very comfortable pillow! Did my mantra chanting and some meditation, but after awhile began to feel the need for sun again, so moved down right along the shore and found another perfect boulder to sit on, with the sun pouring down on my back and perfectly warming me. I sat for at least 1 ½ hours like that, taking a quick dip with my feet and wetting my face and head, but not daring enough for more. It was just a perfect setting and a perfect way to enjoy the perfect day.
I headed back up to return home, had a light lunch of soup and sandwich on the way up, and came home to enjoy another full 1 ½ hours of sunshine on my rooftop. I am still outside, and even though the sun has already gone down, it is still warm enough to sit up here without winter coat and shawls.
There is a film crew here from Delhi filming for some bollywood movie up on the higher terrace at the guesthouse, and this of course is interesting to watch as well.
Later on, my friend will come up and we will watch a movie together, which is always pleasant. I enjoy watching alone, but enjoy even more when I can share with a friend.
And that is my day.
Tomorrow I am supposed to have my cooking class, so should have some interesting things to write about as well.

Thoughts from Books

January 6, 2010

Thoughts from a book I read a couple of months ago: In the Shadow of Crows, David Charles Manners (a true story and book I would urge everyone to make an effort to read-check out the website sarva.org.uk for more information)

p. 25: I understood that although the facts remained immovable, the past was done. My future did not need to be forever a reaction to it. A new and different life was waiting to be lived. All I had to do was to make a choice.

p. 284: Qualities to strive for: tolerance, self-discipline, generosity and patience, contemplation and honesty, dedicated intention and knowledge.

…and from something else I read: absence of fear is not something you feel, but something you don’t.

January 6, 2010 – Putting an end to the Doldrums, Sun and Shadow, Mountain and Blue Sky and REAL Italian Food!

January 6, 2010

January 6, 2010 – Putting an end to the Doldrums, Sun and Shadow, Mountain and Blue Sky and REAL Italian Food!

The Sun Finally Peeking Through the Fog and Mist

Decided this morning I could no longer allow the weather to determine my mood and promised myself I would get joy and pleasure out of today no matter what the weather brought. And as soon as I awoke I realized this was an intention I would have to actively work at, as the day dawned as dreary as all the past days.
Following my morning stuff, I decided to prepare my own breakfast, and MY porridge always makes me feel good at the beginning of the day. I then got dressed nice and warm, and decided to first check out some cosmetics one of my daughters asked for. And following that I would go down to the bookshop and exchange some books for “new” used ones for the rest of this month.. Figured by then I would be hungry again and would stop at the German Bakery for nice chai and good cake which they are known for and which I haven’t had yet since arriving in Rishikesh. Well, the day began as planned but quickly took its own course. Arrived at my favorite pharmacy to ask about Read the rest of this entry »

January 5, 2010 – The Doldrums

January 6, 2010

January 5, 2010 – The Doldrums
The doldrums was initially a term used to describe a sailing ship calmed for any length of time on the ocean due to lack of winds to power it forward on its course.
Well, the last 5 days here have found me in my own doldrums. I never do well in cold, dreary wintry weather, without sun, but this is the first time in all the years I’ve been coming to India, and especially the last 3 years in Rishikesh, that I have encountered an extended period of time like this. Even on the worst days in Mcleodganj, there were always brief periods of sunshine to brighten up even the dreariest day and lift the spirit. And the last 3 winters I spent here in Rishikesh were glorious. There was never extreme cold, very few days of rain, and even on those days where it was cloudy, overcast or foggy, there were always periods of sunshine during the day.
Today is the 5th day where the sun appears to have disappeared completely. It is not only that the sun cannot be seen, its warming energies cannot be felt through the dense blanket of damp fog. It is not raining, but the air is wet, as you might find in a small bathroom after taking a very hot shower and everything is steamed up and misty . But the mist is not warm hot shower air, but cold, and chilly. Today, the high was 10 degrees and, as everyday this past week, there was also no electricity for most of the day, so no heater and not even any hot water to fill up a hot water bottle!
The cold is not as bad as the lack of sunshine. If the sun was out with its glorious light and stimulating energies, I would be completely content. But being cold, as well as despondent, is really difficult for me. There is also not a drop of wind, like a true doldrums at sea, and this is one of the reasons why we remain covered in fog and mist. Usually there is a fierce Read the rest of this entry »

January 3, 2010 – Free At Last! – And the Big Freeze

January 3, 2010

January 3, 2010 – Free At Last! – And the Big Freeze

Finished my last day of panchakarma today, and although it would seem to be a reason for celebrating, I find myself kind of at loose ends. It will be very strange not getting up tomorrow morning and getting ready to go down to my massage and whatever, and of course to spending a couple of hours of the day at the clinic. It also seemed almost anti-climatic. I’ve been dreaming of my first meal after panchakarma, my first cup of chai, etc., and now thaqt the time has arrived, it was no “big deal”. It is more knowing I have the freedom to choose to eat whatever I want which is the liberated feeling I now have, and THAT is the big deal. (See later in the post to find out what brought me a true feeling of celebrating this freedom!)
Yesterday was a perfect example of how much fun it is to be there. You’ve probably heard of laughing yoga, well, yesterday was “laughing massage” and it was probably the most FUN massage I’ve ever had in my life. Don’t remember much of the massage itself, but I was laughing so hard, that if I was not already laying down, I would have had to sit down to keep from falling over with laughter. The two girls, Devi and Laxshmi, were giving me a massage together as they sometimes do, and were giggling and laughing, as they VERY often do. I cannot in any way write here what was going on as much of it was done in pantomime, but the teasing that was Read the rest of this entry »

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