I’ve just arrived back in London after 12 filling days in India. The whole time I was there I just wanted time to stop and be able to look, stare and investigate all the things from the mundane to the incredible, alas I could not stop time and so just had to go with the flow. It was so interesting to go back. India was familiar, having lived here for two years back in 2008, yet I had forgotten so much, it felt close but distant at the same time. Time went fast but I made sure to fill it with many joyful and meaningful opportunities. I began by heading straight to Nasik from Mumbai to meet more of my family and to stay on their farm I’d heard so much about. They cultivate red roses and guavas.
It so happened that I arrived the week of the Kumbh Mela which takes place once every twelve years. It is the world’s largest pilgrimage of religious peoples. It was raining the whole time, and has a reputation of human stampedes, so we were careful where we walked and I did not take my camera. It was interesting to be there, from an outsiders position, just observing the joy taking place as they bathed and dived in the holy river, splashing and washing their sins away. Having spent a few lovely and relaxing days on the farm I took a bus to Pune, the city near where I used to live. The bus ride was fun. I was in the first row, excited about having a good view, but I soon discovered the bus had curtains in place so that no one could see where we were going. Every now and then I got a peak as the curtain slowly slided but understood why it was better drawn as we were driving so fast and dangerously.
Instead I looked out my window as the landscape kept changing between urban and rural. Five hours later, after having been subjected to a loud bollywood movie about romance and unrealistic heroic people I arrived in Pune and took an awesome autorickshaw ride. A ride that was supposed to be thirty minutes ended up being over an hour as we dropped off a passenger on the way in the complete opposite direction and had a near miss by squeezing in between two fast buses. We accidentally went down a road for motorcycles and pedestrians which had boulders at the end, stopping us from passing. There was a small gap in a stone wall and the driver tried twice to squeeze through but no luck. He didn’t get upset over scrapping his auto and smashing his side view mirror. But before we knew it a group of young men ran over to push pushing the auto back and forth through the gap in the wall, scraping the sides and smashing his mirror, they insisted I stay inside. We just couldn’t pass, so we drove back down the road we had came. I appreciated the driver’s carefree and detached attitude towards the situation that I gave him a big tip so he could get his auto repaired. Thus paying five times the price, but I felt he deserved it.
To be continued..