Sunday, February 18, 2007

India Journal 2006 #9 Feb. 16-18 Just Thoughts on the Banks of the Ganges

The truth of the matter is, there is nothing very interesting or exciting to write so far, as most of this trip up until now is taken up with the treatments, which you get to read about in separate posts.

But there are a few things which I've jotted down in my notebook which you might, or might not, find interesting, so I'll post them quickly here today. The treatments are in full swing, quite difficult and tiring, but almost over. After that, I will begin my real explorations of Rishikesh and hope to have something a little more interesting to write.

INDIAN TIME ZONE: Have you ever wondered, like I have, why India has a time zone which includes a 1/2 hour?? Like it is now 3 1/2 hours ahead of Israel. Where in the world does the 1/2 hour come from? There is no such thing as a half a time zone. I've been asking this question for years now and have never received a answer until this week when someone finally explained it. It is a purely political thing

and a decision made by government, much the same as we decide to have Daylight Savings seems India decided they want to be AHEAD OF PAKISTAN (!) so moved the time up by 1/2 an hour!! And that's the answer!!!

Sunday, Feb. 18th, 11 AM

Sitting on the banks of the Holy Ganga. I arrived as usual for my treatment to find the place closed. Only Babita, the young girl who does massages and also cooks the meals was the only one there and she doesn't have a key. She asked immediately if I would call Vivek on my phone, assuming that I have my mobile with me...when I said I didn't she was quite amazed.

So, I found a nice bench to sit on and enjoy the view until the rest of the guys get here. Today would have been a good day for me to have the camera with me...maybe I'll just start carrying it around...The river is crystal clear with a perfect refelction of everything on the shore. The trees, the buildings, the colorful sites along the banks....

People are doing laundry, cows roaming, birds singing, chanting on the loudspeakers of some record shop across the bridge or perhaps a temple or ashram...don't know. Babita just came to tell me "5 minutes" but that's the only phrase she knows in Enlgish to indicate "Please wait patiently" it could be 5 minutes or 30 mintues....I really don't care...the weather is just perfect and I am content just sitting here, mindfully enjoying the moment.

I'm still trying to figure out the allure of Rishikesh. Perhaps next week when I do more exploring I'll figure it out. But is is definitely a town built around 2 things. The Holy Ganga, puja's, temples, yoga, etc. and of course, in the wake of these things, tourism. But it seems to be a different tourism than Dharamsala...the whole town seems less "active"...less busy then Dharamsala...more relaxed and layed back. I could be wrong...perhpas the "religious" nature of the town...don't know. I really find myself enjoying the quiet energies here.

The town is also very spread out, not all concentrated in a couple of small alleylike streets....and so not crowded and confining like McLeod. There are 2 banks to the river and 2 bridges spanning it...about 2 km. apart. and by each bridge is a small center...a smaller one by Ram Jula (the newer, smaller bridge), and a larger one reaching up the side of the mountain by Laxman Jula (the famous bridge everyone sees in pictures of Rishikesh). This means there is an enormous amount of area to wonder around so people are not confined in one small central place. In McLeod, I can only get away from the crowds by going up in the mountains. Here, I can walk wherever I want and not be surrounded constantly by people....very pleasant.

Perhaps it's the reverence for this Holy River which adds quiet dignity to the town as well as the desire to keep it clean....

I'll close for today...
Namaste to all