Sunday, January 17, 2010
So I'm back from Haridwar. I thought I was there for some festival that happens once every 12 years. Luckily for me it turned out to be a lot more.
Like, I would've never imagined I'd see so many half-naked aunties, disrobing without a care in the world...and not a single Indian male giving them the Shakti Kapoor stink-eye. I never thought I'd be in the middle of hundreds, no, thousands of people and not have a panic attack. I never thought that the police would actually keep the crowds moving AND check everyone's bags for bombs AND be polite through it all. I never dreamt I'd be able to witness an annular solar eclipse unfolding right before my eyes.
I never thought I would get goosebumps from a mass religious event.
And then, the next morning - Rishikesh....and suddenly all the struggles of last year, all the second guessing, all the exhaustion from just having tried so hard for so long, seemed to melt away. I realised that my life didn't need to be such a chore.
Looking at the Ganga chuckle past me over rocks and pebbles, I could've sworn she was speaking directly to me. She was grinning and saying - Take a load off, girl. You didn't think you were all alone in this, did you?
The nicest part of the whole 2 day trip, however, was on the ghats of Haridwar the evening we landed. Slipping and sliding on the filthy tiles (Hinduism is a messy religion - a lot of milk and sweet stuff sloshed around), I held my hand out to help an old lady find her balance on the steps leading into the river. She took my hand as if she'd been expecting it and had been waiting all along for me to show up at that precise moment & give her my arm so she could take her holy dip. She looked up at me with the kindest, sweetest eyes that drew me in and instead of thanking me, said - "Khush raho, mere bacchey." And in that moment, it all made sense and tears flooded everything around me...