I’m experiencing pangs of sorrow.
Today marks our last day at the ashram. Having been here for a month, I’ve certainly made attachments. The room assigned to me for my stay has become my bedroom. I refer to it as “going home” when we’ve been out. I’ve gotten on pleasant terms with surrounding shop keepers who recognise me and call me “running girl”. It’s become my Hindi habitat.
I’ve slowly and unwittingly taken on Indian ways. Just little things that were intially completely conscious but now I do automatically unaware. My little nodding in acknowledgement to strangers on the streets has become ingrained. I just know I’ll receive weird reactions when I head waggle and bop my neck as I wander the Cambridge roads on return. I’ve gotten used to skipping over shit in the streets (cow and dog dumps I must point out, though should a human squat and excrete I wouldn’t be overly shocked at this point). The dirt, the dust, the dire despair at some destinations; it’s become normal.
I think I was Indian in a past life. My “call” to come here, my love of lying on the floor, wearing saris (lounging about in one at lunchtime was unbelievably comfy; it’s just walking that’s a bit of a process), eating with my hands, vibes, energies, connections…. Or it’s all a load of horseshit and I’ve gone dotty. You decide.
This morning I begun the pack up of my ashram life. I decided on the parcel-post option of items home to free up more space in my suitcase, so I bundled my backpack with all of my yoga attire and t-shirts. Eva and I set for Lakshman Jhula for our last jaunt.
I checked out a few places proclaiming parcel packaging to compare prices and was about to go to the cheapest, when I clocked eyes on a little pink room with a family inside. “Pack and post parcels” a poster declared. I felt drawn to it.
It wasn’t the cheapest or the most expensive. But the warmth that was felt upon entering the little home made me instantly expel all alternative options.
2000R to herd my package to NZ. So $48 give or take. I winced as I imparted the dosh; definitely in an Indian money mindset! Christ, the package was a good 3.5kg, NZ Post would’ve charged a fortune. I was getting a bindi bargain.
To get below the threshold for the fee I had to take out a few items. I went to put them back in my bag but then looked at the two girls. Probably about my age, maybe slightly younger, they lived crammed in a one-bedroomed, one-bedded “home” with their ageing mother and father. The older girl was hunched over a sewing machine, stitching a dress for her sister, as the younger one masking-taped up my box. So I pulled out a dress and a skirt and asked if they wanted them. Timidly accepting, they gifted me back with big smiles. (I popped back in five minutes later to fetch my forgotten H20, and both girls were wearing the garments and dancing around the room. That’s the “good” I want to feel all the time. To be responsible for such happiness? Nothing compares).
Eva and I got the last of the items we wanted to buy (truly this time). I got a little present for Angali, my new little friend from last night. Govind told me she is learning English, so I bought her a little book to practise in and wrote my address so that when she is more competent we can be penpals. I also got us matching friendship bracelettes; mine is going to ask as a reminder of humility once I go home.
Last laze at Little Buddha Cafe. We sipped ice cold lemon nanas (lemon lime slushy-type drinks made from pure citrus and ice, insanely yum and refreshing) and I sat and spieled to my swaggering Nepalese boyfriend for some time. He said he wants to move to Goa and I said, “What a coincidence! I want to Go(a)!” (sorry, worst pun ever but oh so funny).
When the time came to really make tracks I felt super sad to bid farewell. But he touched my shoulder, shone his cheeky grin and said, “If not now, in another life”. Instead of seeming drippy and hippi-shit, it honestly felt like the truth.
I barely batted an eyelid. True native or what?
(Joking. I leapt about in a tizz then bellowed at the bastard as he swung away, mango in hand). (Do monkeys have “hands”?).
When we got home (see?), we sat in the garden with the boys for a fair few hours, talking about everything and nothing. Oce left early afternoon and John was out with his lady friend, so it was just Eva and I. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I’m eager for the next step in my Solo Sojourn (Delhi for four days to tour to the Taj Mahal and such) but I’m super sad to bid farewells. I usually avoid goodbyes by all means possible, so tomorrow will be horrendous.
I’m leaving a better version of myself than the one that arrived in a frazzled frenzy a mere month ago. I’ve tackled some ugly truths, met some magical people and feel like I’m close to locating Pop (i.e “finding myself”). I just really, truly, desperately hope I keep it UP and beyond when I get back.