Monday, November 8, 2010

देखना (Translation: to see)

After we were done with Darjeeling, Erik and I separated from the group to explore more western states. After a three-and-a-half-hour bumpy jeep ride down the mountain side to the train station, I got out of the vehicle with a sigh of relief. I walked around, enjoying my newly rediscovered freedom of leg movement. I began thinking about the long train ride ahead of us, my newly purchased tea, and did I forget to pack my-

WHAM. All of a sudden I was airborne. I was like a cartoon with my gangly legs somehow now above my head, surrounded by a ball of kicked-up dust. The world went quiet as everything turned into slow motion. And, during my new found serenity in flight, all I could think was, "Are those my shoes in the sky?"

A cow had rammed me. Sucker punched, really (I guess you could say it put the "cow" in coward). My old friends, favorite photo-subjects, had betrayed me! And I thought all I had to keep an eye out for was unruly traffic and pick-pocketers. Et tu, Brute? 

Reminiscing from Udaipur: in the initial, shy stages of our short friendship

Luckily, the fantastic city of Varanasi helped me forget the incident in a matter of moments. The phenomenal Ganges river flows like the aorta of the living, breathing India that has enamored me so much. I could bore you with every experience in that crazy city. However,  it would do Varanasi no justice and probably put you to sleep early.

Imagine the smoke of incense rising around your cheeks, filling up your head with intoxicating scents of forgotten flowers.
Imagine the sound that jangling anklets make on the slim feet of shoeless women.
Feel the calloused hands of people, reaching out for work, not for handouts.
See the translucent red cloth waving softly in a cool breeze.

Then you can feel what it's like to be in Varanasi--and that's all that really matters, isn't it?

Boat trip on the Ganges for sunrise
Hope all is well where you are! I miss you, and am eager to hear of the current happenings in your lives. Take care!

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