The next couple of blogs will be my attempt to put some kind of coherent thoughts together about the swirling, vibrant maestrom that is India.
It does not matter how far we travel and where we find ourselves, I have discovered that we are all connected. My travel group for one thing: we had come from Aus, UK, (not forgetting Wales), N. Ireland and USA but were all united in a desire to explore, to experience and to give back.
We shared stories of families and sorrows, worries and wishes as we are all ultimately, on the same pathway. But more than that were the connections I made with complete strangers.
The first day in Delhi, hubby and I were hurled along the streets in a tuktuk to the Lotus Temple- I had seen the sign and our driver was quite keen to take us there. It is the centre of the Ba’hai faith- one which acknowledges that all paths lead to the same enlightenment, no one faith. It’s all good.
We queued with other devotees to get ourselves thoroughly rubbed down by security, queued to walk around artifacts and then queued for…the queue it seemed. Shoes off, come this way, patter along this path. I kept being bumped by an elderly lady dressed in white. Bump, bump, bump. Eventually I turned around to begin the “I say, would you mind not doing that? it’s hellish hot and I am getting just a little peeved and might have to give you a Hard Stare,” conversation when she gestured sweetly, held up her phone and we both grinned manically as she took a photo of us both.
I managed to establish, using gestures and smiles that she was on a pilgrimage- hell we ALL were, as we bumped our way along. Her and her whole group were bussed in from somewhere and now I am on some woman’s phone as her new besti. But you know what? So what.
Another day we were taken to a Sikh temple. It was all very jolly. We got given a sexy headcovering, shoes off again and in we went. I like the Sikhs- anyone is welcome, as long as they are polite and respectful. Anyone can have a free meal and we all got to wash our feet in the same water of wishes. I did see one lady drinking from it. I’m sure she’ll be fine.
The whole complex is vast- it has to be because it dishes out enough meals for up to 50,000 people a day. That is a lot of rotis- the little flat breads which are used instead of boring old knives and forks. We took our places at the roti-making station and had a go.
I was flanked on both sides by nodding, smiling ladies who showed silly old me how to roll the little breads out and who would regularly chuck balls of dough across to me. Together, we toiled away just happy to be present in the moment.
Down the other end of the table, hubby had managed to strike up a conversation with a chap who told him he had been in a plane crash and had damaged his legs. Neither of them spoke each other’s language. I had a chat with another old boy about cricket and all the while, the rotis rolled out.
For the rest of our trip, regardless of where we went, I looked beyond the person and looked into their eyes, full of the same hopes I have for myself and my family: to be happy, to thrive and to always be present in that moment, appreciating we are all on the same journey.