Im just back from the laundry. A tiny 1 room hut by the roadside which serves as a shop and home for a family of six. As I sat on the charpoy waiting for my dhoti to be ironed the two youngest kids were splashing about in a metal 'tub'. It says something about my isolated non family existence that I couldn't remember the last time I saw children stark naked having the time of their lives. The little girl closed her nostrils with her hands and was diving into the water repeatedly laughing all the time. Her brother though kept throwing tantrums inbetween, sulking a lot reminding me of my younger days. The same situation provididng very different reactions in people ! Everything and everyone in and around the vicinity were wet.
A very good day today. A documentary team from Canada shot us cleaning the shit out of Ganga, but alas my 5 seconds of fame were for nothing. We were unidentifiable under the green masks !
The Kumbh Mela is almost over. For over a week millions of people marched into Haridwar and neighbouring Rishikesh hoping to absolve their sins by taking a dip in the Ganga at the auspicious time. Pure superstition you say ! According to Pundits one of the days was so auspicious that it comes only once in 5000 years ! So I decided not to take the chance and dive in !
There were people sleeping everywhere during the past week including the roads. Even our early morning visits to the Ganga were not so serene anymore. But you've got to admire the tenacity of the ordinary Indian, how they make do with so little. Makes me ashamed of myself and my never ending needs.The most bizarre thing was the public announcement system. The majority of people visiting were from the interior villages of India. In the mad rush, people get lost,and so there is a public address system to let people know if someone's missing or lost. But here's the unique desi twist . You make the announcement yourself. Women screaming their lungs out shouting 'helllloooooo, heeelllooooo, kahan heeyyy tuuuu? (where are you?)' is very common. As if the lost person also has a mike and is going to holler back. There are requests, scoldings, rants, sometimes dialects you have never heard of...you get the gist. Highly amusing...and very noisy.
Ah one more week in the ashram folks, and I have absolutely no clue where i should be heading next. Any suggestions welcome ;) Usually nature takes care of that as I meet someone or come to know of something that intrigues me. Also, a strange never before desire to settle down somewhere near here. I tell you, the river has bewitched me no end...Something unusual happened today. As i was swimming in the Ganges found a ladies handbag, full with personal stuff like driver's license, mp3 player etc. Don't get excited people, no money was involved ! So there it is , my stay drawing to a close, maybe, and the thermometer shooting steadily up, for sure!