FIRST IMPRESSIONS AFTER TWO YEARS AWAY

September 30, 2015

BLOG 2015 #2 September 30

FIRST IMPRESSIONS AFTER TWO YEARS AWAY

FIRST SUNRISE

FIRST SUNRISE

Insight about when to fly in to Delhi for best travel options.  Arrived with Turkish Airlines at 4:30 AM…ON A SUNDAY MORNING. Flying out of Israel was the easiest yet since it was Shabbat, and the airport was fairly empty.  Check-in was an all time record at only 10 minutes start to finish!  Also, Delhi airport was almost empty so no long lines to wait on and I was out of the airport, including getting my luggage, in less than half an hour

And then driving at that hour, on a Sunday morning, through Delhi, was child’s play…no traffic, no noise….and this continued for the first 2/3 of the journey.  The first 150 km., all on the new Highway, took just under 2 hours!  The last 100 km, through towns and with morning activity already beginning, even though Sunday, took 3 hours.  But still a very reasonable ride. Most of the way we drove at the unheard of speed of 80 kph on the new road which is fabulous. There were times when the speedometer hit 90 and even 100!

NOTE THE SPEED ON THE SPEEDOMETER

NOTE THE SPEED ON THE SPEEDOMETER

By 7:30 I was already sitting down to a breakfast of Aloo Parantha and Masala at Grand Cheetal rest stop.

CHEETAL BREAKFAST

Two Road signs along the way:

SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS.  PLASTIC IS NOT TRENDY

CELLULAR O WHEEL WILL BE COSTLY DEAL

….and indeed…you can now ad texting while driving to the already existing hazards of India roads.

SEE VIDEO IN LINK BELOW

TAXI RIDE DELHI TO RISHIKESH

India itself has stayed the same in many ways, and continues to change and grow as well at amazing speed.  WIFI access for example, which only two years began to find its way into restaurants etc., and was very “iffy”, is now almost everywhere, and WORKS beautifully! The prevalence of Western mode of dress, particularly among younger girls and women, is extensive although in the towns along the way, I saw none of it.  But here, in Rishikesh, where there are lots more Indian tourists, not pilgrims, just tourists, all are dressed in Western clothing.  It has become a very popular “get away” for the younger Delhi crowd, as well as families, and I’ve been told that for most of the year, there is actually more income from Indians these days than from Westerners, who have become unreliable as a main source, and also pay much less money for the same services and accommodations than Indians do.

But mainly these are cosmetic changes…new restaurants and guesthouses everywhere I look (and I’ve been out and about very little these first few days as it is very hot…unseasonably so), fancier cars, clothing shops etc., but the essence, the soul of Indian, remains the same.  It is something which never seems to change and it is what brings me here time and again.  I will be writing more about this as the time goes by.

Enough for this first post….next one will quickly sum up my first few days

Namaste

With love light and JOY

Jane


PEOPLE

November 29, 2013

Just some photos of interesting people along the way.No matter how often and for how many years I walk around here, I am always surprised by new things….

Flowers for Puja

Flowers for Puja

LAUNDRY DAY

LAUNDRY DAY

FRIENDS

FRIENDS

GANGA DEVOTION

GANGA DEVOTION

PLEASE FEED THE FISH

PLEASE FEED THE FISH

wpid-GANGA-BATHING.jpg

THREE GENERATIONS

THREE GENERATIONS

wpid-LADY.jpg

wpid-LADIES.jpg

wpid-PEOPLE1.jpg

Hope you enjoyed the view as much as I do

Namaste
Jane


Ambivalent Feelings- Hidden Blessings – Nov 5 2012

November 5, 2012

Ambivalent Feelings – Hidden Blessings

Sitting in the new Pundir Restaurant  I mentioned in one of my first posts this year. (Read more about this lovely shop and its lovely owners here: https://janesindiajournals.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/new-expanded-and-improved-pundir-general-store-in-tapovan/

New Restaurant at Pundir Shop

With a view of the Ganga through the trees, gentle morning sun warming me and a cool breeze keeping me comfortable.

I have ordered my toasted brown bread and hot milk and have brought with me from home my spice blend and some jaggary for the milk, and my lovely jam for the buttered toast.

This was actually taken yesterday morning up by my room-but you get the idea!

I am after a water enema, and a long nite of strange dreams. This is a yearly occurrence during the late stages of panchakarma – cleansing on deep levels.  I am quite tired however, and don’t feel like moving, but quite at peace. Sometimes this deep cleansing brings up difficult issues, crying, sadness, pain, anger etc., but this time it is bringing up just deep understandings of the need for new direction, new perspectives,  and new ways of seeing the next phase in my life.  This of course all requires change, and that of course is always difficult.  But the feelings are good ones, even a sense of excitement about what awaits me just around the corner. 

It is a time for complete acceptance, for surrender, with no expectations, in joy, gratitude and freedom from fear!

I am enjoying these last days of my treatments and looking forward to the last 10 days which will remain afterwards as “vacation” time before heading home.

Mixed feelings flood me at this time…wanting to be two places at the same time.

Embracing my last days of “aloneness” together with the joy of knowing I will soon be in the arms of my dear loving partner.

Ambivalence is probably the best word for the way I feel at the moment.

My time here is too short this trip, and yet I don’t believe I could have stayed away from my love for any longer!

Being limited by technical bureaucratic reasons in the amount of time I could stay in India this year (a mere 6 weeks compared to my usual 4-6 months) , something which initially was very difficult for me to accept, has turned out to be just one more blessing from above.

And I thank God and the Universe for once again, as always, taking care of me and my needs in the best possible way!

I am truly blessed

Leaves hanging over entrance to new restaurant, originally strung during puja ceremony before entering new home or business

Namaste from Rishikesh

Jane


Reunion with a Dear Friend-Visit to Devi’s House- Oct 29, 2012

November 2, 2012

Reunion with a Dear Friend

Devi’s Mother and I met about 4 years ago, and without understanding a single word either of us said to each other, we became instant friends.  I cannot explain the connection, but it is a powerful and deeply felt one by both of us.

She is a 50 year old woman who has lived an extremely difficult life, on all levels, but continues to joyful at all times and grateful for all she has.

I always try to bring her some special gift, as she is a woman who has never had anything that all women take for granted.  Never a new sari, never a warm sweater or shawl, or even a winter quilt to keep the cold out at night.  No fancy things for her hair, or makeup…not the simplest womanly pleasure. To see the joy in her eyes when these little things are given to her, is a blessing I cannot describe in words and I myself thank God that I am able to these small kindnesses for this amazing lady.

For many years she did not leave her house to go to any sort of party or family/friend occasion as she did not own a suitable sari.  She wore the same old tattered one for more years than she could remember.  It would be like going to a wedding or birthday party in an old, grubby housedress.  This lovely sari (which I was able to buy for her several years ago) has made it possible for her to enjoy this occasions for the first time in untold years…

dresssed and ready to go to party

and now that one of her 5 daughter is finally getting married (another long and surprising story not for now) , I was able to give her another new one, suitable enough to be worn by “mother-of –the-bride”.

getting things all spruced up for sister’s wedding

These are all small things but become great blessings, and I wish there was someway to truly make her life easier.  But alas, I am able to only bring little joys into her life…perhaps someone out there reading this would care to help in other ways?

The loveliest thing to see during this visit, was how from one cow,

suspicious mother cow who eventually tried to kick me

which she was helped to purchase several years ago, she now has 5 cows in her herd…two new calves,

their mother’s, and one pregnant cow (which is HER first offspring-seen as a calf in this photo from several years ago).

The Mother cow did not like my invading her space,

first calf from two years ago, now pregnant herself-in the background

and getting close to her children, and tried very hard to kick me a couple of times until I finally “got the message” and retreated.  Don’t know why people think cow’s are stupid or unfeeling creatures!!

It was a wonderful visit as always, with much laughter,

smile for the camera please

and the joy of seeing her lovely family of daughters moving forward and succeeding in many ways thought impossible just a few years ago.  The small help of different people is all that is needed here.  Several years ago, it was difficult for me to visit for any length of time as they had no toilet and they felt it dangerous for me to go into the “forest” as they did.  So I made a supreme effort to save money up over the coming year and they were able, with the small amount of $200, to build an outhouse and shower.

Visits there are now long and leisurely, and always great  fun.  It is always difficult to finally leave for home, and I look forward to my next visit , hopefully shortly.

You can read more stories about this lovely family at the following links from my past visits over the years:

https://janesindiajournals.wordpress.com/2008/11/22/nov-20-2003-%E2%80%93-visit-to-devi/

https://janesindiajournals.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/january-10-2010-%E2%80%93-visit-to-a-friend-and-the-spice-of-love/

https://janesindiajournals.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/february-3-2011-%E2%80%93-panchakarma-day-6-and-lunch-at-a-friend-and-the-fortune-telling-cow/

Namaste from Rishikesh

Jane


Effects of Panchakarma after Just Two Weeks-Oct. 28, 2012

October 28, 2012

Noticeable Effects of Panchakarma after Just Two Weeks

(Note:  I wrote the following post this morning before going down to the clinic.  So you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the clinic afterwards,  and when I said good morning to the doctor, he looked up, a huge smile crossed his face, his eyes lit up and he said: “You are looking VERY good this morning!”  Sure confirmation for the things I felt myself and wrote below.  🙂

Don’t know if this is of interest to anyone, but for me it is important to document .  After just two weeks of panchakarma, the effects are definitely felt.  Today I begin the full enema regimen with my first water enema, after two days of medicated oil enemas.  I know that this final stage will move the cleansing through to completion, but so far, I am able to feel changes in my energy levels and see visible signs of change.

I have been “running on empty” for so long, I don’t honestly remember when I felt full power the past months.  And I can now see that my energy levels are finally being restored to normal for me.  Meaning, I can be out and walking for hours each day, as much as 6-8 kilometers, and still feel fine in the evening.  I can do this for 2-3 days straight and then must take one day to rest.  This is the norm for me and I am pleased that I have reached that stage of activity once again.

And visually, there are changes.  My eyes first of all are indicators of health for me, always.  When I am not well, they look dull, half closed as if it is difficult to keep them open, and kind of “sad” looking.  Since yesterday, my eyes have once again taken on their full glow,, they have their joyous luster back, they are wide open and alert looking, and of course, “happy”.

My joint pains have eased immensely, despite my walking so much, and in general, I am feeling better than I have in over 10 months.  Before coming here, I would experience 2-5 days where I was NOT  ill with one thing or another, or just weak and unable to function, and then the weakened ill state would return again for up to 2 weeks at a time.  It had become the norm.

I have been here now for almost 3 weeks and have been well and energized the entire time, (except for a couple of days when weakness and tiredness were the direct results of the treatment that day – and this expected).

So all in all, things are going extremely well and I am optimistic that the final results will bring me back to my own perfect health.  And then hopefully the good health will continue once I get back home. This of course depends on me and if I continue to eat properly, live a suitable life style (especially getting back to my proper sleep habits which have been totally disrupted this past year with my new life partner) and manage to limit stress – this being a big issue when I am back home – between living in Israel, having six kids and 14 grandkids, financial worries, etc., managing stress is not always easy to say the least. I do my best but there are underlying matters which slowly bring about unwanted symptoms without even realizing it is happening.

Life is good and I am truly blessed!

Namaste from Rishikesh

Jane


Latest News in Cycle Rickshaws

October 23, 2012

I Just Had to Share This

India: Moving Forward While Standing Still

From an article in yesterday’s newspaper.

 

Namaste from Amazing India


Monkey Shines and Happy Tourists – October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012

Feelin’ Good!! Panchakarma Day 4

Ganga from Laxman Jhula Bridge

To my great surprise, I am feeling wonderful.  Actually better than I have felt for the past few months.  I was “out and about” today…met a lovely Israeli girl when I went for lunch and we spoke for more than an hour, and then continued down to do lots of errands in Laxman Jhula (none got done, but it is not important).  Had a wonderful walk, the weather is getting better each day, I am getting stronger and more fit and the hills are easier than they were even yesterday.  I have  more energy than I have had in a very long time.  I know there will be more difficult days during Panchakarma, but for now I am in heaven.

Just making this into a photo post with some sights of the day.  Enjoy!

Local Tourist During Navrati Festival-NOtice the Plastic bottle at her side. She has filled it with water from the Holy Ganga and will take it home.

Happy Indian Tourists

 

Monkeys on Laxman Jhula Bridge

Bathing in Ganga

Refreshing Fruit Salad Along the Ganga-My favorites-Pineapple and Papaya

Ram Jhula in the Distance

Colorful Table Centerpiece

Beautiful Colors-Waiting on Line to Drink at the Water Fountain

…and just for fun-More Monkeys:

A great day to everyone!

Namaste from Rishikesh

Jane


Things are Falling Into Place – Day 3 Panchakarma October 16, 2012

October 17, 2012

Things are Falling Into Place – Day 3 Panchakarma October 16, 2012

Navrati Festival – See Below for more Info

Ganga View from Cafe Delmar

It is now 6:30 in the evening and I am happily sitting out on my rooftop terrace, enjoying the still comfortable evening air.  Soon it will be much to cold at this time of the day to sit outdoors.  Even now I am wearing jeans, woolen sox and my warm shawl, but am comfortable and feeling blessed.

I have already eaten my kitcheri for supper and later, before going to sleep, will have my wonderful hot spiced milk and biscuits.  But I now bought myself good, wholesome organic oatmeal cookies…much more expensive than the “biscuits” the doctor recommended – plain cookies made from flour oil and lots of sugar and additives.  Those were 5 rupees a packet, the ones I bought were 120 rupees a packet!!  But I will feel much better eating a couple of those with my milk. :-

I cannot believe what I did today!.  After my treatment,  which was lovely- massage and navi basti (hot oil bath on navel area – a kind of bowl is formed out of chickpea flour which is made into a kind of clay, and then placed over the area to be treated, and hot medicated oils are poured in and left to do their magic on the chosen part of the body).

Then I was told that Manju, the doctor’s wife would be arriving.  She is one of the sweetest women I have ever met, a wonderful cook who I learned much from regarding Indian cooking, and a dear friend.  So I waited for her and was so happy to see her when she finally arrived.  I will be going, together with my friend Michal, to visit her one afternoon in the coming days, and to enjoy some of her wonderful cooking (whatever I can while doing panchakarma) and of course her lovely company.

And then I decided to have pulao, something I am allowed every few days instead of vegetables and chapatti, but was by then too tired to go all the way down to where I had intended to eat.  So I decided to go to a nearby place and see if their pulao was any good (it wasn’t).  But it is the lovely place along the Ganga which I so enjoy, which changed hands but is still in a beautiful setting  overlooking the Ganga PHOTO

….and then, cannot believe what I did! I walked full force into a plate glass entrance door to the restaurant- which I absolutely did not see! Strong enough to draw blood from my mouth and nose and raise a huge bump on my forhead!!

Thank God for Rescue Cream and Reiki!!

By the time the meal arrived, the bleeding had stopped and the swelling was down.  I continued with Reiki and Rescue for a time after the meal.  When I got back to my room there was still some slight swelling on my upper lip and forehead…did more Reiki while napping and now it is fine. There is still some slight pain but nothing compared to what I felt when hitting the glass!  I almost fainted.  Now I understand the expression “seeing stars”!!

The restaurant itself is lovely.  Still called Café Delmar, but with a Beatles, 60’s theme about it.  It offers many Vegan options – a first here in Rishikesh and there was even classical music playing in the background when I arrived.

AND….they have free WIFI!!!!!!!

Began taking a few odd photos today and will try and post several each day if something worthwhile comes out.

Will relax the rest of the evening, go to sleep early, and hopefully be awake for another lovely sunset tomorrow.

Below, if you are interested, is some information regarding the significance of the 9 Day Navrati Festival now being celebrated in India, and bringin many local tourists to town as well. 

Mahanavaratri , nine night Goddess festival started today and ends on 24 October with Vijayadashami.

Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess.

First three days
These initial days

are dedicated to Durga Maa, the Goddess of power, energy and transformation, also known as Kali in order to destroy all our impurities and negativity. These three days the devotees meditate on the fire aspect of Goddess and purified their Sanskaras , the conditioning of old vicious habits etc.

Second three days
When the impurities are removed then the pure spiritual wealth is bestows by Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance. These three days the devotees meditate on the soft and soma qualities of Goddess to experience love and compassion as his inherent pure quality.
.
Final three days
Once the aspirant succeeds observing the evil propensities, and develops Sattwic or pure, divine qualities and then only he can receives the light of supreme wisdom by the grace of mother Saraswati..The final set of three days is spent in meditating on the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati..

The tenth day, Vijaya Dasami is the celebration of liberation of the soul, the victory, the achievement of goal of all goals.
These nine nights are designed for our spiritual evolution. It also falls on very special planetary situation, twice a year, the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter on a very auspicious day.

Namaste and Blessings from the Goddesses to all

Jane


Back in Rishikesh October 9-13 2012 Part 1

October 13, 2012

Sunrise over India

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.

Sunrise over India from the taxi window

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!!

what a unique idea!

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.

Namaste

Jane


Faces of India Part 9 – Faces Faces Faces (…and a little more)

September 5, 2012

Trying on a friend’s fancy party jewelry

This will probably be the last post in this series.  So there is no special topic…mostly just faces of people I have been privileged to meet, get to know, and finally become friends with.  Some of the most amazing people I know are those I have met in India, and each photo has its own story.  Many of the stories have been written over the years on my blogs,but here, I really just want to share the photos with you.  There are also several photos of celebration and dancing, for Indians will find a reason to dance as often as possible and celebrate just about everything imaginable.  And always with so much color and joy.

wedding guests dancing

Grandmother 90+ and daughter in Delhi 2001-

When I asked to photograph the two lovely ladies above, they both ran to put on lipstick and put on a new tikka on their forehead!  🙂

I suggest you click on one of the gallery photos at the end of the post and that will open the entire gallery in full size to scroll through, as I am not posting all the photos full size here.

reading morning news

Tanzin Palmo-First Western Women to be Initiated as a Tibetan Buddhist Nun

pride in her new cow-an amazing lady with an amazing story and a dear friend as well

Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law

Happy Babas – Still one of my very favorite photos

Hanuman

With Newborn calf

bejewelled bride

dancing costume

Dancing in the “living room” just for fun one evening

Hope you enjoy this final post.  I have extremely enjoyed this project personally and am already thinking of another one which will allow me to share further photos with you.

I suggest you click on one of the gallery photos below and that will open the entire gallery in full size to scroll through, as I am not posting all the photos full size here.

 


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