Dharamsala

August 5, 2009

I have come to Dharamsala, home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in exile, in search of enlightenment…Psyche! I came because weather.com says it’s more than 40 degrees C in Rajastahn, so change of plans. Dharamsala is in the Himalayas and at an ideal 22 degrees is the ideal spong to take meditation, yoga and breathing classes alongside other foreigners, mostly middle-aged European women trying to find themselves and some Israeli pseudo-hippies.

Monks debating inside the Tsuglagkhang Complex- home of the Dalai Lama- one monk sat on the floor cross-legged while another stood, sealing each argument with a foot stomp and arm-winding clap

Monks debating inside the Tsuglagkhang Complex- home of the Dalai Lama- one monk sat on the floor cross-legged while another stood, sealing each argument with a foot stomp and arm-winding clap

The bus ride was yet another terrifying journey across the Himalayas- the only option being the nightbus down a narrow, steep unlit mountain road, that shaked, rattled and rolled, as bags from overhead fell on me all night, and food packages exploded all over the bus. It was 4 am when we arrived. Exhausted and against my better judgement, I hopped in a car with three guys from Delhi who said they were driving to the village I wanted to stay in- an option I preferred to sitting on the street in the dark for two hours until taxis started operating. They kindly allowed me to sit in their hotel room until it got light outside. Though kind of annoying, and a bit reminscent of young versions of nosy, rude types I found in Kolkata and Delhi, the guys were harmless. I was still quite uncomfortable…especially since one of them reminded me of Amitabh, an antagonist character in a book I read. But when the sun began to rise at 6 am, I politely excused myself, left some joints as presents and began my climb up the steep cobblestone path up to Bhagsu Village.

Into the Great Wide Open: I have mastered the flat-footed squat position, finally!

Into the Great Wide Open: I have mastered the flat-footed squat position, finally!

I bathed at the waterfall almost every day when the sun came out (it was an old army encampment that was sealed off so no one found me...)

I bathed at the waterfall almost every day when the sun came out (it was an old army encampment that was sealed off so no one found me...)

The past week has been spent meditating for two hours and yoga-ing for four hours a day at a lovely mountainside retreat. I am amazed at the benefits my body had reaped in only a week. And I no longer have to pray for non-diarrhea every time I take a bathroom break. My body has handled this all-vegetarian diet for the past 1.7 months in India. I can’t wait to scarf the first lamb kebab I see in Turkey though…

Many thoughts have come to mind over the past weeks in the Himalayas. Perhaps it’s that magic of being in the mountains. For some reason, by the time I sit down at a computer, all the thoughts evaporate and I can no longer articulate what I want…Maybe some day I will be able to reflect on everything with truth, rather than be sucked in by the lure of nostalgia, which often leads me to idealize the past…! Oh me oh my…

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~ by ceciliabien on August 8, 2009.

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