6am comes too fast when you went to bed at 2am, but when greeted by a foggy coating hiding mysterious mosques and bright green parrots flapping amongst the trees, the sleepy stupor quickly fades away. today began with a walk through jasprit’s favorite place growing up in delhi as a child, lodhi gardens. a big park full of people doing yoga, working out, strolling, meditating, etc. we joined right in with the locals and started our pranayam (after stopping every minute to take a photograph of course). the movements quickly rejuvenated my body and awakened my senses to the immense beauty surrounding me.
as the sun rose, so did the city. the silence of yesterday’s late night and today’s early morning was gone. replaced by the language of honking horns and hindi. we made our way back to the hotel for a delicious breakfast buffet and chai, perfectly spiced. then a rest. this seems to be how every morning will go. routine. a nice change of pace for me.
onto gurudwara bangla sahib, a sikh temple. an usual feeling of being in such a spiritual setting and not understanding the rituals. take off your shoes, wash your feet, cover your head with a scarf, make an offering. despite jasprit’s attempt to translate the words and prayers being said, i felt like i was missing out on something great. so many people lined up and crowded into a beautiful temple encased in gold. upon exiting, the gift of parsad. a sweetened wheat substance that is very tasty. a symbol of breaking down the caste system. everyone eats together, from the same pot. there is no division. ik onkar, or universal oneness. it is what jasprit teaches in russayog (the style of yoga i am trained in).
everyone drifts to hang out around the man made pond/pool. children laughing. people taking a refreshing dip. and as i was snapping away photo after photo, the tables were turned. we became the celebrities. stares and pointing. all i can do is smile. smile bigger than they smile. teenage indian boys wanting to take a picture with us. indian children coming up to shake our hands.
hands. hands and wrists. jasprit purchased us all a steel bangle or kara. the symbol of thoughts and actions combined to form a continuous circle of linking our thinking to what we do. i don’t usually wear jewelry, but i like this symbol, this simple reminder link mind to body. sort of embodies the ouroboros on my right foot.
and then, the highlight…the bengali market, where i finally had my first authentic indian gulab jamun (sunny this one is for you). indian sweets are delicious. a local recommended rasmalai, which jasprit claimed was “a little better than ice cream.” false. ice cream is still the best thing in the world. but the food is absolutely amazing, and cheap! my meal was 75 rupees or about $1.50.
full bellies mean time for a walk. to india gate to enjoy the array of people. everyone laughing and enjoying the carnival atmosphere. again, becoming celebrities and being stalked (or attacked in sybille’s case) to get henna. children dancing and chasing bubbles. an enchanting police officer thrilled to tell us everything to do in india, and teach me a few important hindi words for a girl like me:
has – laugh
kush – happiness
muskurao – bring a smile to your face
koi baat mahi – no problem
that is all i need to know i think. and maybe shukria, or thank you.
we ended the night in nehru park. a walk through winding dirt paths until dark. a bit of pranayam while the sky faded to an orange haze, and the clouds let a few raindrops slip. it never gets dark here. always something lighting up the way.
ho ho! lovely to see india through neophyte eyes! even tho i never really like big cities, especially in india, i can’t imagine it ever being “silent” – i was convinced there was a “night shift” that took over at dusk… i think indian cities never stop… life is so different in the rural areas…..