A “Face” Out of the “Book” – Day 9 Panchakarma – October 22, 2012

October 23, 2012

Surprising, Exciting, Exhilarating Special Day in Rishikesh

view of laxman jhula snuggled in the mountains

Today a “face” came out of the “book”. I met a Facebook friend “face to face”.

I’ve been friends with Mukesh for some time now on Facebook.  We met through another lovely mutual friend, Preeti.  And today he was in Rishikesh area visiting his family and his new wife who live nearby on the way to Dehradun (he himself works in Delhi), and asked if I’d like to meet up.  I was thrilled of course at the idea.

He is an extremely accomplished photographer. You can check out his work on Facebook :  Mukesh Bhandari.

So he came to meet me by my room following my morning treatment which included a lovely massage, today by Devi, and my very favorite:  steam bath. Still trying to get a photo of this…basically I am closed into a wooden box with just my head outside and wonderfully warm, moist steam is pumped through the box.  It is luxurious.  (You might remember an “I Love Lucy” episode where she got stuck in such a box).

Mukesh arrived by bike and we had a no special plans so just set out and before we realized it we were across Laxman Jhula bridge (not an easy task with the festival crowds in town at the moment)

I THOUGHT I was shooting a video but had pushed the wrong button!!  🙂  )

….he suggested we head up to the waterfall, and I of course agreed.

It was an exhilarating ride and he is a great driver.  Very careful and considerate of his rider, who was ecstatically enjoying each movement, curve, sway and motion.  The ride was really cold and I was not dressed properly, not imagining that this is what we would be doing.  But it was so beautiful I really didn’t care.

It was so wonderful to be back on a bike again ..and to feel the wind on my face … the true meaning of flying free being felt as we drove along.

You can read about my previous bike adventures and my feelings the FIRST time I ever rode a bike at these links:
Bike Ride to Kunchapuri

Another Bike Adventure

We began our way up the forest trail towards the waterfall,

and each step revealed yet another scene of Natural beauty.

Mukesh told me that he took his fiancé here rather than to a fancy restaurant as most guys do.  He couldn’t have taken her to a more beautiful place.  As we neared the waterfall however, there was a place where we had to go across a small section of water.

you can see the continuing path at the top right of the photo across the water

Having not planned this, I was not wearing proper footwear and didn’t want to take the chance of getting my feet soaking wet and then having to continue riding back in the cold air in that condition.  Did not want to take the chance of getting sick, so to our mutual dismay, that was as far as we got.  We could hear the waterfall in the background, but not see it.  But I WILL go back more suitably dressed at some point, and bring along a change of shoes if necessary.

We had to turn back but not before enjoying the beauty of the place

and Mukeshtaking lots of shots which I will eventually post once he gets them to me.  It will be after he returns to Delhi and his PC.

From there, we took the upper mountain road overlooking Rishikesh below

We then found our way back to Ram Jhula, where I DID manage a video…but nothing compared to what we had to get through on Laxman Jhula.

It was an amazing day, even more so as it came as a complete surprise.   I haven’t felt this energized in a very long time.

Just being back so close to Nature once again has its own healing powers.  And the sense of freedom and the joy it brings have brought great blessings into this day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mukesh…you are an angel sent from God and I am grateful to Him and to you for this wonderful day.

Hope you will enjoy the gallery of photos which I myself shot.  Being on such a journey with a fellow photographer has additional benefits, as he also looks forward to stopping many times along the way to take photos wherever possible.  My shots will not be as good as his for sure, but they will give you some small feel for the beauty we were blessed with today.

Namaste from Rishikesh

March 10, 2011 – Vacation Day 9 – Story of the Silk Cotton Tree-Simple Lesson in Focused Intention and How We Are Provided with Anwers by the Universe

March 11, 2011

March 10, 2011 – Vacation Day 9 – Story of the Silk Cotton Tree-Simple Lesson in Focused Intention and How We Are Provided with Anwers by the Universe

It seems that sincere intention to know something, will always bring an answer – and usually from a place, or in a way, that we could never imagine.

Silk Cotton Tree


Yesterday was a relaxing day spent close to home.  Didn’t want to push my luck after feeling so weak the day before – especially just before coming home.  So hung around close to my room, did further packing and sorting, read, needlepointed, visited friends, friends visited me and was even invited out for dinner.  Ate properly the entire day and felt at peace.

Although I am enjoying the beautiful weather immensely, I am now completely ready to return home, for whatever waits me there.  And that is also a good feeling.

Just after posting yesterday, with pictures of the “cotton” tree, I continued to be curious if that was really its name and to find out more about it than the owner could give me.  I was thinking of googling it when I decided to first sit down and read for awhile. …I was reading the book I mentioned by Ruskin Bond, “The Book of Nature”, and when I opened to the page I was up to, what did I find but this chapter “The Silk-Cotton Tree”!!

And as I began to read it, I realized he was talking about the exact tree I sat next to the previous day.  Since it is so nicely written and explained…I will just quote the whole few beginning sentences here.

“Most of you, even if you do not play badminton, are familiar with a shuttlecock.  Well, if you take a shuttlecock and paint it a bright crimson, you will get a fair idea of what the flower of the semul (or silk-cotton tree) looks like.

Now just imagine a tall, leafless tree covered with masses of crimson flowers, and you will know what this wonderful tree looks like in spring..  There are few trees in the world that can compare with it in beuty and brilliance.

You may, of course, have seen a semul tree either in the jungle or along a tree-lined avenue in one of our citis.  It is a god shade-tree, losing its leaves for only a brief period, just before it flowers.  During the summer months, you will find its seeds overed with white cotton, which is blown far and wide by the slgithest breeze.  This cotton is not suitable for spinning and weaving into cloth, but it s used for stuffing pillows and cushions.”

And now both you and I know a little more about the tree!  It seems that sincere intention to know something, will always bring an answer – and usually from a place, or in a way, that we could never imagine.

Have a great, focused, day.



March 9, 2011 – Vacation Day 7-8 – Paying the Price

March 9, 2011

March 9, 2011 – Vacation Day 7-8 – Paying the Price

Flowers on the “cotton Tree” -more later in the post and on Facebook Photo Link

Outdoors until bedtime…beautiful weather for sitting, and still cool enough that mosquitos are not yet a real problem.  But staying up and about until this hour, also makes me hungry for more food.

You’d think I’d eaten enough already today….will just have some nuts and dates though…in the end I ordered a fruit salad!

fruit salad - apples, papaya, pineapple, clementina, grapes, pomegranate

Have begun getting myself ready to leave….going through my stuff…what stays, what goes, what I still need to buy etc.  Just 5 days left here then I will be for a day and a half in delhi before my flight.

I will begin with the morning of the 9th after the night of the 8th!!

One lesson I have learned in life, and tried to teach to my children as well, is that everything has a price…before you make a decision to do something, consider the price and if you are willing to pay it!

Every year following panchakarma I kind of go crazy when it comes to eating things I shouldn’t, and things I couldn’t eat for the past month.  And after a week, this always ends and I go back pretty much to the “straight and narrow”.  Of course, this type of indulgence definitely has a price…and I paid most of it last night, and am paying the final installment today!

I don’t get diarrhea or anything, but certainly would be happy if I could vomit (but never manage to)…It is just a feeling of such total discomfort in my stomach and abdomen that I feel like crying…the pain is relieved temporarily with Reiki, which helps to release gas from the area, and by taking lots of ginger oil and drinking hot ginger.  But there is no way I could sleep last night, and am still uncomfortable today, and of course tired from no sleep, and weak from not eating.  Today I will stick to hot ginger and some dry toast with a drop of ghee.  By tomorrow I will be fine, and if truth be told, when I think back on it, except for yesterday (which still makes me nauseous when I picture everything I ate), the week of food fun was worth the price. (It is now evening, and  I am not feeling well at all.  My stomach seems to be much better, but I am feeling, weak, slightly dizzy and have a very slight fever.  Hope it is nothing more serious than just overeating, but tomorrow will tell for sure)

So what did I eat yesterday?  Well, that is part of nice story of  what I DID yesterday.

I woke up in the morning and decided I had to get back to properly before I head home.  Most of the restaurants I eat at are noisy, crowded, with loud music, etc., and also serve only standard meals from the menu.  Which means if I want to request with no potatoes, cabbage or cauliflower it is a problem as the veggies are chopped and mixed in the morning for the whole day. I also want a place with a shady outdoor view overlooking the GAnga, which also limits me to where I can go.

So today, I went checking out some new haunts, and after several unsuccessful attempts, came upon Prem’s Namaste Café down in Laxman Jhula, with an upstairs sitting area overlooking the Ganga.

view from Prem's Namaste Cafe

The owner came from Nepal in 2000 and opened the restaurant with the idea of bringing something a little different to the area.  And he seems to have succeeded.

He has the standard dishes, but also a more varied menu as well.  Some lovely fresh salads, brick overn pizza, lots of tofu dishes and many many veg dishes to choose from.  When I asked about things I could not eat, he was very accommodating and promised me a good meal to my liking.  It was freshly prepared (which means waiting, but these are always the best meals and the freshest),  Everything lived up to his promises and I hope to be back there for my last few days here in Rishikesh to try some other dishes. (obviously I was not there today, and looks like tomorrow I won’t be either).

It is really quiet here, overlooks the Ganga and is very clean as well.

There is a pleasant cooling breeze coming off the river making it really comfortable..not a drop of sun – probably freezing in the winter, but just perfect now.


SO…what did I eat:

Veggie and tofu dish with beans in it which was scrumptious – not greasy, not spiced in any way – just lovely and something I’ve never tasted before anywhere in India.

I also ordered a butter Naan, the first time I had one this trip, and it was also delicious:

butter naan

And just then, eating, relaxing, enjoying the view

view towards laxman jhula

I had one of those moments when tears of gratitude overwhelm me!  I am so blessed to be here and so grateful to all the powers which make this possible for me.

And the final, extra touch, was my chai was served in a holder so that I don’t burn my hands as usual on the hot glass/

chai in holder

There is this gorgeous tree here with amazingly beautiful red flowers.  Owner says it is a “cotton tree” and that after the flower and fruit, the tree is covered with cotton!  And he says that this tree is one of the blessings of this restaurant for him here in India.

cotton tree-see more lovely photos on the facebook link below

See this link for lots more beautiful photos of this and more from today:


It was just so beautiful I could not leave, and sat and did my needlepoint for quite some time, and just enjoyed the view.  At one


point, a monkey came along to feast on the cotton flowers and must have eaten more than 20 before taking off.

let's see...what's next

I wonder if you can see how much he enjoyed his lunch from the pictures



And then, coming down the Ganga, was a traveler, with small pack on his back gliding along on what looks like a surfboard with a paddle!!

guy gliding down ganga on surfboard -see more on the facebook link

By this time, I was hungry again, and decided on something sweet.  I ordered something called a bhagsu cake, described as layers of cookies, caramel and chocolate – very sweet.

Bhagsu Cake - Sugar Ecstacy

(I am feeling nauseous right now just thinking of it!!!)…Well, it was pure indulgence – sugar ecstasy for sure.

And that is what I ate yesterday and thought I was paying for today, but perhaps it is something else…will see how things go tomorrow.

That’s it for today – Don’t forget to check out the Facebook Link for lots more photos of today…I sat for hours in just one place and so much beauty found me!



January 23-24, 2011 – A Glorious Day Out Plus the New Blessing (Addiction?) of Needlepoint

January 24, 2011

January 23-24, 2011 – A Glorious Day Out Plus the New Blessing (Addiction?) of Needlepoint

I am now sitting out on my rooftop and believe it or not, have to sit in the shade.  It is 4 in the afternoon and the sun is too strong to sit in directly.  But as you can see from the photo, the mountains are at their most glorious green shades after these past two beautiful days.  The weather has definitely shifted, and although there may still be a few days of rain now and then when it will be chilly, warmer weather is here.

Today was a lovely day, spent outdoors from breakfast at a lovely restaurant in Ram Jhula, Flavors, where I had the best paneer parantha I have had since arriving, as well as the cheapest (this is a real Indian Restaurant, not some Western tourist place). [ I met an Indian girl there and was going to relate her family story to you all, but after a very unpleasant visit with her in the evening in my room (I had invited her!), I’ve decided to just release the whole episode and move along.  It seems I had forgotten the rules of interaction in India and had been far too open and generous with her at the restaurant, leading her to false expectations or just cheekiness when she arrived at my room. ]

Took some lovely photos today and the link to the album is here:


More trees, views of a sunny warm day along the Ganga ghats (including a lovely series showing a woman doing a ritual bathe with her son assisting her so she doesn’t fall completely into the water) and a loving Mother and Baby cow !

I had walked down to the restaurant for breakfast using the upper forest road and cutting through the Sivananda Ashram, a first walk of this type for me since arriving.  It’s just been too cold to venture out down this road in the morning, but it was lovely today  From there, I crossed over Ram Jhula bridge, and walked out the other side going all the way to the end of Swaghashram area and just enjoying the ghats, as were lots of other people.  The first really warm day and you can see people everywhere bathing in the Ganga…not just the very spiritual or cold water bathing enthusiasts.

And it seems that the tourists are back.  Either they all arrived yesterday, hearing that the weather was turning, or they were here all along and just hiding out in their rooms the past month!.  Either way, all the restaurants were full, as was the local Coffee Day coffee shop, which is always mainly taken advantage of by westerners (although the occasional Indian – who can afford the prices- will be seen there).  It was full to overflowing, both inside and out!  Lots of people out shopping and the shopkeepers were really happy with wide grins on their faces as the slow movements of winter slowly give way to a real flow of tourists.

After my walk out and back to ram jhula, instead of crossing over and coming home, which is what I would have done until today, I simply continued on back to Laxman Jhula, (about 2-3 km. on the back road), went in to my lovely restaurant on the ganga for a late lunch, and then headed home.  All in all I walked about 8 kilometers today, felt great the entire way, and was outdoors longer than I have been until now.   It was wonderful.

I realize now that I really needed this past month of extremely cold weather to force me to use this time to heal myself on many levels…including physical, so I could then take full advantage and completely enjoy this wonderful weather which has now begun.  There is no way I could have done the amount of walking I did yesterday and today when I first arrived, or even two weeks ago for that matter…when I still had serious issues with my shoulder and upper back and then suddenly, even my knees.

After my healing sessions, and other ways of releasing negative emotions and traumas, my shoulder and back are perfect, I have no problem carrying my bag around while out and about (when I first came, I couldn’t carry ANYTHING without experience extreme shooting pain, and this began almost 5 months ago).  And then my knees gave out…don’t know why, but it also had to do with certain emotional cords/ties I was having trouble releasing.  Well, after three consecutive days of doing Reiki on my knees for one hour a day, they are as good as new.  I was able to walk up the mountain yesterday, and today, walked about 8 kilometers without a trace of trouble. So the extremely cold weather was a blessing (as all things are actually), and now I can enjoy each and every moment being out in the glorious weather which began yesterday.

Needlepoint: Well, I had begun a work of needlepoint several years ago (the last I had done this before this one was when I was pregnant with my last child – He is now 29 years old!).  I had decided it would be something pleasant to do in India in 2007 and enjoyed it that year.  It was put aside when I got home, and last year, remembering it, decided to take it again with me to work on.  To my surprise and dismay, I could not see well enough to work it, and figured it would be resigned for eternity, unfinished, to the drawer.

Just before leaving for India this year, I came across it in the drawer and for some reason, felt the need to throw it into the suitcase.  Yesterday, for some reason, I pulled it out and had a most wonderful discovery.  I was able to work it!!  It seems that last year, when I was diagnosed with a cataract on one eye (the reason I couldn’t see well enough to do it before, and couldn’t even read comfortably the past year), I was told that I would need stronger reading glasses as the progressive, multifocal ones I had been using for years could not compensate for the loss of close vision.  So I DID get a pair of reading glasses, and later in the States my brother, an optometrist, also made me a pair of bifocals, and I was once again able to enjoy reading.

Apparently, these same reading glasses have improved my vision enough to allow me to work the needlepoint as well!  What a lovely surprise!

I find the repetitive movement of the needle and thread , even though it is ME who is consciously causing this movement, to be meditative, hypnotic, relaxing and to my surprise, as addictive as a good computer game!!! (just one more section….just one more color….just this tiny space….just a drop more), and I found myself sitting today (it is already the next day), for several hours out on the rooftop, working the needlepoint.  Today was a day for relaxing at home.  Had a good shower and hair wash, even did my nails, relaxed outside in the sunshine and caressing breeze the entire day…reading, doing needlepoint, and just absorbing the healing warmth into every part of my body. Now, with the sun down behind the trees, have retired to my room.  It has been a lovely day so far, and am sure it will continue in this relaxing way.



January 22, 2011 – A Day with the Trees

January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011 – A Day with the Trees

I am now sitting at Ayurpak waiting for my lunch of  fried vegetable rice with cooked pumpkin (ayurveda style), after my walk up through Tapovan Village.


I will post more about this walk, including lots of photos, but this post will be devoted to TREES.



Why?  I have no idea actually, but while walking through the village , the clouds began to roll in but this was fine.  I had already peeled off whatever I could and was feeling really hot!, and then the trees began talking to me, asking me to look at them, to study them and, yes, to photograph them.  Which I did for the remaining half of my walk.  I don’t know yet exactly what this was all about, but it was definitely a wonderful walking meditation.  While communicating with the trees and photographing them at their request, I also heard the lovely sounds of the water rushing along beside the path.

Try to ennjoy this video as I enjoyed the actual sounds


And in the past, I have received messages from tress which have always helped me through difficult places. You can read one of these stories at this link:


…and I am sure as I begin to go through the photos, in order to post them, I will understand further, any messages the trees had for me today (or not!).

So enjoy these photos, and the next post will contain lots of photos from the lovely village walk of today, as well as my new reality regarding  the subtle but very real changes in my  body…

%d bloggers like this: