Monday, 3 November 2008

A view across the Ganges

Ok, they say a picture paints a thousand words but I am going to try a different angle today.

Imagine walking into a building built of bamboo. Thick struts make up the supports and thin leaves are weaved to make the walls. As you walk in two smells instantly assault your senses. The smell of freshly cooked Indian food with its sweet spices hits you first followed by the faint, fresh and slightly choking smell of marijuana. Opposite from where you stand you see the source of the second smell. The DJ sits in his corner playing a selection of ambient trance, a thin line of smoke rising from the joint in his mouth. The music is a gentle and flowing symphony of stringed instruments and highlights the muted chatter of people deep in conversation. As you look around the room you realise there are no chairs only cushions on a carpeted floor so you take off your shoes and move into the middle of the room. Paper lampshades cast reds, greens and blues through the smoke that swirls in the almost still air. It is slightly too warm from the evening sun coming through the large empty windows and there is a thin sheen of sweat on your skin. You find a seat in the corner and order a lemon mint iced drink. It's refreshing in the hot sun and wakens your senses. Looking out of the window you stare across the river Ganges passed the long thin pedestrian bridge to the bank on the opposite side. The sun is sitting just a few degrees above the hills.

You sit talking about life, remembering home and occasionally your eye is drawn back to the river. The sun is now setting, it is sitting right on the rooftops of the buildings and is turning the sky from a deep blue into oranges and yellows. The bridge is now just a silhouette with dark figures in robes crossing occasionally lit by a motorbike trying to squeeze through. A monkey sits on the suspension wires completely still. It has now cooled down, the river has turned orange and seems to have slowed down matching the pace of the music. As you sit staring into this scene something happens, you can't say what or when, but there is a moment when the sun hits a certain spot or the monkey turns slightly and you realise you are staring into a perfect moment in time every detail absorbed into your memory but as a whole, single thing that no camera could capture.

I met another welshman yesterday. We have lived within 5 minutes of each other back home and never met. It is one of those things that life kinda throws your way when you least expect it but definitely need it. He knows many people from my year in school and we have been talking about rugby, football, pubs n clubs. It seems just when I needed it someone came along and reminded me of life back home. Of friends I am missing, Sunday roast and of course the weather! The scene above is a small hut right on the river Ganges which he has visited several times in a town called Rishikesh. It is where (Rishikesh, not the hut) the Beatles wrote their album 'white album' and is an incredibly spiritual place. The self styled yoga capital of the world. Backpackers come here to meditate and rest after long journeys and it is an opportunity to throw yourself deep into a spiritual world not of gods and afterlives but individuality and personal enlightenment. There are many backpackers here. All attempting to find some kind of truth but also all returning to the backpacker havens at night. There is something about this place and I don't know if it is because the place is spiritual or if it is because the people make it so but it is there. In the way people walk and greet you, the beauty of the surrounding area. I can't pinpoint it but give me a few days and I will. I was certainly enlightened to something on my way here. Riding alone and off-road is far less fun than riding with others off-road. Especially when it is 85km!


Andy said...

A most poetic post.

I got me a job (boo). Start tomorrow (boo). Another small web company (yea). Hopefully this one will stay afloat

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Ollie. Beautifully written. We'll be able to do our yoga practise together when you get back!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ol
That was so descriptive. I was
there with you, sitting on a cushion, taking it all in. I may have needed a hand to get up but it sounded fantastic. Keep up this great blog.

Anonymous said...

They say a picture paints a thousand words but you my friend have a whole new way of destroying that myth. A really magnificent blog. We can't wait for the next one!!
Best wishes