Day 12 - 18th May 2017
It is amazing how we can adjust our sleep patterns to fit any situation when we release our belief systems about our sleep requirements. Got up at 4.50 am, a few minutes before the alarm, which I never need because even in these situations when I switch it on I always precede it. And no matter what time I decide to get up or in this case have to get up I am wide awake and ready for the day.
Sleep patterns are in fact very different the world over so just like anything else we can shape them to fit each occasion by simply choosing.
I have no idea whether people in India are usually late or on time because my experience has been one of punctuality, be it with the plane, the train, the undrground or the car. The chauffer has actually picked us up before time. We thank him and ask for his card. He took excellent care of us so if you decide to hire him in Jaipur here is his contact: 009351137520. He has written his name on the card but try as I might I cannot bring myself to understand what he wrote. He works for Rajasthan Tours, a partner on Travel Pals India.
On our way to the station this morning the shops were mostly closed, of course, it was 6 in the morning. Nevertheless a few places were already cooking breakfast. And many people were already commuting. There is always someone going somewhere whilst others are lying anywhere and everywhere, be it sidewalks, carts shop entrances and even directly on the road! People here sit on the floor anywhere and also lie on the floor at any time so for instance at the station there are numerous people lying on the ground taking a nap and it is so natural and organic for them, and for me.
Travelling in complete acceptance of the local culture and customs is absolutely liberating. There is a kind of peace here that is uncommon in Europe. So far I have seen no one arguing, which is a wonder in this seemingly chaotic traffic. But then again, it is not chaotic, it is organic. Still have not come across an accident either. People do not complain about their lot and even the beggars who somehow try to put on a pitiful face cannot keep it up for long.
With so much space and fertile lands in the country I asked why people would want to crop up into town by the millions, living in degraded conditions and barely managing to scrape by. The reason apparently is the same the world over: seeking for a better life, dreaming about what the Western world promises with its well devised marketing system.
I asked why there are so many unfinished houses, mostly in the cities. Again the reason is obvious: when they start building people think they will have enough for something which they then come to the realization that they cannot conclude. Food doesn't seem to be lacking though.
With so many arts and crafts and so many craftsmen and women and more than enough raw materials, India is a budding country and anyone with a mind for business can easily prosper here or by importing from India, though prices have definitely gone up and it is no longer the cheapest destination where one can buy anything for a bargain. Indian people are smartening up and are very satisfied with their current government who has done much to improve life conditions.
As anywhere, there are many issues but also as anywhere it is our choice to focus on what's not working, or to focus on what is and replicate it so that what works can nurture the whole.
The young man who had picked us up on the train platform once again takes us to the right place for the train to Delhi and we wait for it to arrive. Ula and I are not in the same carriage, which is a great thing because it is one more chance for Ula to trust being alone and feeling safe with the people around her.
It is a sleeper train so people are just getting up, brushing their teeth and getting ready for the day. I happen to be seated with a lovely family, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. They are from Gujarat and at about 8 am decide to have breakfast. Some delicious papads I don't know the name for, with pickled mango and lime filled with something I cannot identify either. They insist that I try and I eventually surrender. Hummm... and then some baked mouth freshner - a mix of fennel and other seeds.
They are going to visit Ashkardam in New Delhi. I've already been there, managed to precede them :) It is an impressive labour of love. It is school holiday time here so they are on vacation.
After a while they give me some seeds, another mouth freshner. Looks like coffee and tastes... not sure what it tastes like but is's a good chewy entertainment. Ah and at the age of 44 I have finally learnt how to eat mango!!! Here they bite off the peel at the top and suck it! Makes sense and gets rid of the need for a knife to peel. It's like drinking mango juice directly from the fruit itself.
The most beautiful little girl named Khushi, which means happiness, has just made friends with me:) This family is indeed joyous and a blessing to be with. Five females - one little 9 year old, two young ladies, one of them is a biochemistry doctor and two older ladies, mother and aunt and none of them seem to lack self-confidence or to be ill treated or abused as women.
I ask the biochemistry doctor - Dr Bherviker, if she likes her job and she answers "60% yes, the other 40% I accept and am content with, but do not really like". Fair deal. At least she likes over 50% of what she does which is more than most people can say. She asks whether my health is good, because many times people who come from the West get sick. I tell her yes, my health is great. She asks whether I've taken any medication or vaccination to come here, just out of curiosity. I answer no, I don't need those things and don't believe in those needs. I explain to her that I believe that health balance comes from within us, if we are aligned inside of ourselves our health is fine. It is once again a question of choice.
She also believes that health depends on our emotional and mental well being. I ask whether people in India go to the doctor much or take medication. She says that they don't, only in old age and only for certain conditions that they cannot treat otherwise. She says that people are practising more and more yoga and meditation and that people where she lives are very happy. What a blessing to be here with them.
This train is a three tier air conditioned sleeper and many people are on a 12 hour journey. The family I am sitting with are coming all the way from Gujarat, which is further west than Jaipur and are going to the Akshardam temple, the one I was at on my first Sunday in India. Apparently for worshippers there are sleeping quarters which is where this family will then stay.
We arrive safely in New Delhi and everyone goes their own way. Ula is headed to the Ibis hotel in Aerocity and I am headed to sweet Mahiema's house in the area of Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi's central hub. Since Ula was not travelling in the same carriage as meso we had different experiences, which is completely appropriate. She emerges from the train accompanied by a young man whom she introduces as her saviour. A far cry from the previous feeling of overwhelm with masculine presence and an ongoing example of her choice to rather let the masculine kindly take care of her. He is going to call the Uber taxi for her because she is carrying way too much luggage to travel on the underground. We hug tightly, our hearts tingle in the special way I've mentioned before, when two souls connect in recognition of each other and we bid farewell. I am so happy to be sure that Ula will arrive safely at her destination.
I have to take a tuc to the metro station, change lines once and then take a tuc from the arrival metro station to her residential compound. It all proceeds with no delays but takes me 2 hours to get to her place. Big cities are the same everywhere, though this one is quite a bit more crowded than any European city. The underground always seems to be going through rush hour!
Since I had not tried the all women's last carriage, I decide to try it out. Amazingly enough the atmosphere actually feels safer and more comfortable in the mixed carriage, believe it or not! So when I change for the yellow line I go into a regular carriage. I will be travelling all the way to the end of the line. After a few stations a kind gentleman standing in front of me keeps a seat that has just vacated and instead of sitting himself he offers it to me. I most gratefully accept because by now my backpack is becoming a tad heavy.
At the metro station a hoard of tuc driver tries to entice me to their tuc to take me where I am going, they all charge 50 rupees for this distance and I naturally let myself follow a youngman whom I feel to be competent. Surely enough his tuc is parked on the outer rim, so it is ready to go. It is clean and this young man happens to be the fastest one I've come cross, super confident and... he hardly hoots! As I've said before, everyone constantly hoots here, not angrily but just to make their presence noticed. The drivers here seem to have developed a sort of sixth sense that keeps them out of trouble. I can't figure how they do it but even when bikes, cars and tucs materialize out of nowhere they manage to steer clear.
When I arrive at Mahiema's place she is not at home but her maid opens the door. It is past 3 pm and everyone was worried about me because they thought I was arriving at the train station at 10.30 am. Mahiema had not understood that my train was only due at 12.30 and it arrived half an hour late.
Lunch is waiting for me on the already set table, together with a glass of replenishing fresh water. I am humbled and blessed. I know I keep on saying this but I can't find anothr way of expressing my deep gratitude to All That Is, appreciating the silent dance that weaves people and situations together to form the reality I am choosing and allowing.
After lunch I sit comfortably on the sofa in the living room, waiting and resting. On the small table in front of me there is the leaflet: Care & Share - You Can Change a Child's Life, we will show you how. Here is the website: www.careshareindia.org. This is an international NGO based in the city of Vijayawada, in the southern Indian state if Andhra Pradesh. It is a person-to-person sponsorship program that benefits over 6500 children living in the city's slums and nearby villages. It serves street children, slum dwellers, sex workers and those displaced in the wake of natural disasters in many ways. They have built a 27 acre campus for street boys and girls called Daddy's Home, where they have living units and a school and farm. They are also also fundraising to contiune developing Buttelfly Hill, a new village that now houses already 325 children and also comprises schools. I am fascinated by the dimension of this project and share it here with you as well. May these children find their ways on this multidimensional planet where everything is possible.
After a while Mahiema and Iman arrive. They have been to a dressmaker/designer who is making Iman's wedding dress and which will be ready tomorrow for her to take with her. People here work round the clock if necessary in order to satisfy orders and keep business flowing.
I tell Mahiema that since I have chosen to completely eliminate drama from life she needn't worry about me. I am always perfectly safe, even when I arrive later than predicted :)
It may seem strange to say this so confidently, as if I can somehow control everything that happens but that is not what I mean and am illustrating here. The fact is that when we resolve our inner wars, releasing the seduction of drama and start consciously choosing our lives into shape, allowing ease, grace and simplicity to flow freely, this is what really happens. However it takes time to come to this state because the seductive compulsion for drama says "life will be so boring without at least a touch of drama". I can vouch for the contrary. The same passion used to produce entertaining dramatic situations can be steered towards living a purely magical life, in the sense that love, joy, creativity, meaningfulness, fulfilment, grace, gratitude and wonder can be much more intense and productive than drama ever was and I can guarantee that there is no lack of entertainment. The latter is however geared towards a greater good, connecting our lifestream to all lifestreams that are in synch with a purposeful wholeness that needs not have a specific aim other than just Being a shining example of harmonious balance. In the few days Ula and I were together and we shared experiences, Ula kept on saying "if you managed to overcome this I am now certain that I can too, and this is what I want for me. I am so grateful to have met you and to see that it is possible to live the way you do. I definitely am going to be calm and confident like you". I, in turn am deeply thankful for the trust, for the special bond, for the joy and wisdom we have shared these few days.
Iman and I were about to travel together but she wanted me to go with her to the mountains because she can't stand the heat, whereas I had chosen to go to Agra and Jaipur. We both went our own ways and she absolutely loved her experience and I absolutely loved mine. So much for respecting our own choices, and it was just perfect for both of us.
To be continued...