In the midst of the bustling,busy,hectic, crowded Chandi Chowk Market I came across this quiet alleyway with the most amazing decorated doors. The houses themselves are about 300 years old and still occupied.
…having my local phone card set up…talking and finally off for a long a beautiful sleep.
I was invited to Dr. Arora and Manju’s for dinner together with my friend Michal. I usually spend quite a lot of time visiting with Manju while I am in Rishikesh. Daytime visits where we just chat and I watch her in the kitchen-best cooking lessons available-and these visits were missing during this short stay. But at least I would get to spend the evening with her, and I was excited about going.
We wound up spending the evening in prayers, chanting and singing with all the female members of the communal family dwelling (5 sisters-in-law, a couple of THEIR daughters-in-law, a visiting sister of Dr. Arora from Delhi, and even one baby granddaughter). I couldn’t have found a more suitable, uplifting and beautiful way to spend my last evening in Rishikesh, or better company. I have no photos, as it seemed neither appropriate nor necessary at the time, but the wonderful pictures will remain in my mind for a very long time.
It seems over 30 years ago, Dr. Arora’s father decided that every Tuesday there should be an evening of Kirtan (sacred chanting) in the family temple situated in the center of the family dwelling, and the women at the time decided they would be the ones to do it. And to this day, this is precisely what happens every Tuesday evening.
There is nothing that compares with the power, and empowering energies of the prayers of women. The chanting was done joyfully, sometimes playfully, sometimes with deep serious mindfulness and devotion, but always directed directly towards the deities. I felt it on a deep soul level and felt myself being swept away with the power of the connection to God felt in the small room. Since the chanting is repetitive, and the women took turns leading it, I was very often able to join in. And from my years in India, several of the chants I realized I actually knew the words to myself! This surprised me and of course brought great joy and approving pleasure to the faces of the women. And of course, clapping along with everyone else was a no brainer, even for me!! 🙂
The visit afterwards with Manju and the Doctor was thoroughly enjoyable as always, with good conversation, seeing the beautiful wedding album from their eldest son’s wedding last year (the daughter in law of course now living there with them) and of course a superb light dinner. With soup, idlis, subji, shahi paneer (Manju makes the best in India for sure and she always remembers how much I like it and makes it for me when I come), chutney and of course chapattis with ghee . Dr Arora drove us home, quite late…tired but with full stomachs and happy hearts.
Now having my last breakfast here at the Pundir Restaurant after being treated to a wonderful whole wheat chapatti and homemade ghee when I stopped by Seema’s house earlier.
The sky is cloudy today for the first time in 6 weeks. I feel “cloudy” myself. Must be raining somewhere up in the mountains to bring the clouds and colder weather today.
And somewhere deep inside of me there is a “rainy” feeling as well.
The day continued quietly, with goodbyes to everyone, always difficult, but even more so after such a short stay, and of course packing up my stuff for storage as well as for taking home. The sky was beautiful to watch during the day and evening,
and before heading off to Delhi by taxi, I had my last supper of schnitzel and chips!! 🙂
The ride on the new highway took less than 5 hours….
Sachin provided me with a pillow so I could sleep in the car on the way. I dozed on and off…and to my great surprise was in delhi in less than 5 hours!! New road is good for sure.
Found a nice bench in the departure lounge to lay down on for another hour until they opened the RJ check in counter. They really hassled me about my carry on- it didn’t fit into the “rack” which measures them. Finally they called the supervisor, and she allowed me to take it. What a pain in the ass. The whole thing took over an hour but luckily I was first on line and when I got to the gate, there was even a free bed to lie down on which I did of course.
the flight was fine but it seems the AC as not working….it was really hot on the plane.
Good flight to amman but it is over 7 hours going back. The plane was not full so there was no one next to me which made it easier to sleep a little with my legs over the handle of the next seat.
1/2 hour delay in Amman but that meant yosi actually got the airport in time to pick me up. It was nice.
We went and had a nice breakfast in Yehud and then headed home and got stuck in a HAIL STORM!! Thought the car windows would crack the pieces were so big!
And then later on in the evening, my house was struck directly by lightning and my phone went dead while talking to yosi. and my cellphone needed to be charged but I had no electricity, so we couldn’t talk. It was easier talking to him from India!
And now I am home, a week later, writing this last post!! I will be posting several more photo posts, and then saying goodbye until next year! Look forward to seeing you all once again then!
Namaste from Herzlia, Israel
Well, I’ve been here now for just three days but it seems like I’ve been here for a couple of weeks at least. I am now sitting in my room with Tata Photon+ mobile broadband service stick which my friend is lending to me whenever I want it so that I can use internet in my room. The wifi services here are not working well enough for me to take advantage of them in my room, so this is a real blessing from him to me. I am listening to lovely Israeli folkdancing music (which I love), and eating Besan Ladoo…which I also love!! Heaven on earth.
I honestly haven’t felt like writing since I arrived, but have many things written in bits and pieces in my notebook….hope to eventually get them all up here. And to my great surprise, I haven’t taken (hardly) any photos either. But I won’t force anything to “happen”. Just flowing with things as they go.
I arrived in Delhi on Wednesday morning at 4:30, with my friend M. We were picked up by a taxi which I had ordered previously and began our journey to Rishikesh. And to my great surprise, it took a long time for me to feel like I was actually in India! Everything has changed so much over the past year and 8 months. It took hours before my friend had her first traumatic meeting with Indian culture shock. She was beginning to become complacent, maybe even bored, but India being India…it will finally find its way to you in all of its glorious, and not so glorious ways!!
At the airport there was no initial assault on the senses as there used to be. We could have been in any lovely airport in any country in the world. The new terminal has nothing to give you the feeling that you are truly back in India. My friend was pleasantly surprised, and happy, but I was actually disappointed. . Pleased of course that progress is moving things forward, India as always moves ahead while standing still….But I wanted desperately to “feel” India on a gut level, in my soul!
We were taken to our taxi, and to my total astonishment, there was AC working!! And it worked most of the journey to Rishikesh! Quite unbelievable. Not only is it obviously more comfortable during a hot drive, but it keeps all of the dirt and dust out of the car!
I was already told that the new highway is open and running between Delhi and Rishikesh, but had no idea what to expect. Well, the first 150 KM of the 250 KM journey took under 2 hours, Then we stopped for breakfast and toilet and lovely Cheetal Resort. When we got back in the car, the driver explained that the highway only continues for another 10 KM and then we are back on the old road for the last 90 KM of the trip to Rishikesh.
So, finally, we would “feel” India!! The highway is approached through a bypass road from the airport, so we didn’t even get to ride through Old Delhi or New Delhi on our way out of the city. And all of the hussle-bussle was truly missed by me.
Once off the main highway however India finally “hit” with full force. I was ecstatic, my friend traumatized. We were back to the horror and magic that is travel on Indian roads. (You might remember the previous post- Rules of the Road).
The last 90 KM took well over 3 hours of nerve-wracking driving, noise, smells, near death passes, a cacophony of humanity coming to life in the morning hours. Just wonderful! But my poor friend! I think you NEVER forget your first drive on Indian roads. Just like you never forget childbirth (!). It finds a place of honor in your soul and stays there forever, but hidden enough to allow you to venture onto the roads again for travel in the future!!
I am going to end this post here so that I can finish it up and post it. And hope to continue either tomorrow or later today with one more catch up post about our first two days here. They have been a blur of sensory, culinary and physical stimulation…exploring, showing my friend the local sights and also how to find her own way around, eating wonderful food, enjoying the perfect weather, see all my wonderful friends again and just feeling peaceful and tranquil and back home after much too long.
Flying tomorrow evening and will arrive on Wednesday around lunch time (following a 5-7 hour taxi ride from Delhi). Hopefully on Thursday, during my morning walk with my friend M, who will be in India for the first time (!), I will sit down at some point to drink Chai, perhaps at the Buddha Cafe, and enjoy the above scene onces again. 🙂 I look forward to seeing all my wonderful friends in Rishikesh who I have sorely missed over the past year and 8 months…the longest I’ve been away from India in a very long time.
Have been fighting a serious sinus infection the past 2 weeks, including antibiotics the last few days (a rare occurrence for me) and thankfully my fever has finally abated. Won’t be an easy trip but it will be wonderful to be back…even if I have to continue resting up for another few days once I get there.
Hope to be posting almost daily when I get back to “myself”, and of course, hope you will enjoy and love hearing your comments.
Just wanted to share some of my favorite photos of myself in India, either taken by friend’s, or WITH many of my wonderful friends and “family” there. I don’t enjoy being photographed, so when someone finally DOES get a shot of me, it is always a joyous occasion!
Each photo has its own lovely story, most of which are narrated throughout the posts on this blog over the years. Hope you enjoy seeing these as much as I enjoy recalling the beautiful moments they hold so dear for me in my life …so many wonderful and dear friends, so many wonderful and dear memories,
For Abdellahji’s full story see this link: http://notinindia2012.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/an-angel-returns-home/
…and MANY MORE to check out in the full gallery below
Hope you enjoy seeing these as much as I enjoy recalling the beautiful moments they hold so dear for me in my life …so many wonderful and dear friends, so many wonderful and dear memories, so many blessings! 🙂