Saturday, March 31, 2007

India Journal 2006- #33- March 29-30 Day at the Movies and Puja in Hardiwar

...and the weather... just as a sidethought:
The weather is really "india" now. I need the fan at night for several hours and certainly during the day (if I am in the room!). Appetite is less and very few places here have AC. So eating, at least a lunchtime, is not easy. So slow and easy is the slogan. Really not looking forward to Delhi which will be worse due to the humidity there, but at least there the shops are AC as is my room, and room service is available so it should be OK! Just checked now, and it is 41 degrees here today!!!! Same as Delhi. No wonder I feel so listless!

March 29, Thursday at the movies.
After Ainat's suggestion of a couple of days ago, Ruth, Ilse and I decided to take in a movie in town today. We went down by Rickshaw, came to the theater and found it large, pleasant and FULL of people, mostly young. It is the day the market is closed, which might account for some of the people there, who had a day off from work, but it was 12:30 in the afternoon and there were mostly young India guys, teenagers,,,,very few girls. Wondered why they were not in school. However, the packed house added a completely new dimension to the film! Cheers, singing, applause, was really a full, living experience. The movie theater was fan cooled and pleasantly comfortable, despite the great heat outside. The movie was Bollywood, but the singing and dancing were not overdone, and
beautiful as ever. The story was predictable, but wonderfully done as well, and the main actor, don't remember his name, brought me to tears at some places, without even understand a word of what he was speaking. It was called Namaste London, there was some amount of English spoken as most of it took place in London, although there was a full tour of India, including Rishikesh, and you can imagine the audience reaction when Rishikesh came on the screen, but the only thing we really missed out on were the innuendos and jokes. We had a thoroughly lovely 3 hours and came out with big smiles on our faces and a good feeling, which is still with me a couple of days later.
And if that is not a successful film, than I don't know what is!!

We came home feeling very pleased with ourselves and just realxed for the rest of the day. And then in the evening, Ainat came to my room for some updates re: her and in the end we began discussing ideas for us working together back in Israel. And finally, she helped me make up a flyer which I made up on the computer and have begun Hebrew...and hopefully it will even get me some customers for when I arrive in Dharamsala.

Following that session with Ainat, I also decided to write to a cousin of mine who has a good friend who runs a travel agency in Israel, so that I can have a personal contact at home who will be willing to give me practical advice about getting this business off the ground.

I continued to contemplate many angles of this group idea and int he end I realized that like most things, I have to send it out, and with no expectations, release it to God. I am sure that no matter how and no matter when it happens, it WILL come to fruition, and will be just perfect for me and for those who find their way to me. Once I get home, I will give a big push to this Yoga for Special needs course as well as incorporating meditation and pranayama with it. And of course to do more and more with Reiki.

I am really falling behind with this blog and have so many interesting stories, some quite sad to tell the truth, and really see the need for having a laptop with me if I am to do this correctly. Coming down to the internet cafe is very restrictive and not conducive to creativity either...But I will do my best one of these days to get these stories off to the blog.

I will continue with the next day, March 30, Friday, when we went to Hardiwar for the big Puja (ceremony) on the Ganga which takes place each and every day of the week. After being there yesterday, it is something quite beyond my human comprehension that this takes place each and every day of the year. I will post as many pictures as possible to try and give you a feel, and also have 2 short videos, but again, they will have to wait until I get home to post. The nice thing about the videos is that you get the full sound effect also. Then, the only thing missing, would be the smells, the predominent one for me at the puja was not the usual smell of people, and cows, and humidity, and sweat, and incense, but the smell of rose petals from all the little offerings being carried by people before releasing them to the river.

I also released one into the flow of the River, with a special prayer...of course for my whole family, loved ones, peace in the world, contentment etc., for all, but I included a very special prayer for my grandson Yali, asking that his life unfold and continue in the way which will bring him tranquility and full development of his amazing potential. And that this be in the way which will most suit his personality and special needs. Once done, I found myself with chills and tingling throughout my body...and very deep profound sense that my release of the offering was accepted and understood, and later in the evening, I was again moved to tears of joy and release, as I KNEW that things will now begin to be better for was as if I was given a sign, sitting on the banks of the Sacred Ganga, that God knew exactly what I was asking for and that he took my request to heart. Even sitting here now writing about it, I have chills again and a choking feeling in my throat...all WILL be well with him it is telling me.

We arrived in Hardwar by taxi after a pleasant hours drive... Ainat, Ilse and Agee and myself.

First, we stopped at the enormous statue of Shiva...about 30 meters high we were told....difficult to take a photo as the sun was behind the statue, but you will get some idea at least of the size from the pictures at the beginning of this post. Near this statue were other tourist, like us, but Indian, as well as babas praying and a view across to the town...

We then walked across to the town and began our exploration of the ghat where the puja would take place in about one hours time.

First, what really drew our attention was the festival atmosphere...people by the score swimming and frolicking in the river, many fully dressed, others with less clothing, and some women from Rajasthan removing their saris completely. Other people changed their clothes in the changing rooms which are available, just like you might find at a local swimming pool, and bathed in different clothes and then changed back into their holiday saris as the time of the puja approached. Many men were also have a shave right along the ghat to prepare for the ceremony as well. But all so festive...singing, eating, enjoying...smiles, laughter, just lovely.

We removed our shoes as instructed and spent the next couple of hours barefoot, which was not really easy for me, but not the end of the world either. We did our own offerings early so as not to be crushed by the huge press of humanity later on...and this was a wise decision.

We made our way along the ghat, and just sat and observed for awhile, the amazing variety of "people" waiting for the puja to begin:

The little fellow below was breastfeeding and I was so pleased to see the ease at which his Mother got him latched on, through her sari, fancy jewelry etc., without a hair getting mussed and with no fuss whatsoever....

We finally found our way to seats along the ghat to wait, along with the thousands of other people

who come here each and every day, for the official puja to begin. There were drums, singing, mantras, chanting, hand clapping, fire, (all can really be seen well in the video), and, as always in India, amazing splashes of color everywhere!

I will try and post as many pictures as possible in this post, and special post which will follow it, with just more pictures, as I am having trouble deciding what to post...the scenes were so amazingly beautiful, especially as dark settled over the ghat...I hope something comes through in these pictures.

Following the puja,

we followed the rest of the swarm and just walked around the market, enjoyed the smells and sights and again, were amazed that this happens every single day! I even bought Ainat a balloon,
as she asked for one....By then however, we were quite exhausted, from the heat, the humidity, the press of humanity and not drinking enough, so decided to head home, and arrived home around 9:30 in the evening...sooooooooooo happy that we went!

I am really having difficulty putting the experience into words, so I will let the pictures say as much as possible, and hope you can get some feel for the profound sacredness of the experience combined with the amazing sense of festivity, as well as the great pleasure of doing this with friends.