I never thought I would visit India again after last time. I left the country puking into the sick bags on the aeroplane, having lost large amounts of weight and failed to gain any sense of peace, or calm, or karma or whatever the reason is that you go to India. Maybe that's the trouble, perhaps you shouldn't seek yourself in India, you are very unlikely to find what you're looking for - there's too much shit in the way, an overload of all the senses and crowds like you've never experienced before, or since. Phew, India was tough. Interesting but tough. It's not one of the places I look back with fondness, although parts of the journey were incredible - I seem to only remember the pollution, the rubbish, the poverty, the beggars, the animals, the crowds, the hoards - oh, the amount of people!
We spent nearly three months in India, Mum and I. Some time out together, some adventuring in my late twenties. Mum had wanted to show me the Himalayas in Nepal but we ended up in Delhi instead, some distance from the pure mountain air and stillness I had imagined. No, Delhi was full of rickshaws both motorised and those pulled by human strength, the continuous noise of beeping horns, pollution thick, choking and heavy. I was relieved to leave for the hill stations of the north, to the summer homes of the British during the Raj, to head further into the Himalayas and even reaching a height of nearly 4000m at the Rhotang pass. The air was thin and unavailable and prayer flags whipped wildly in the cold, harsh winds. The mountains looked pointy, just as a child would draw, with perfect snow-capped peaks.
We visited the Dalai Lama but he wasn't there, we ate momo's instead of masala dosa's, we spun prayer wheels and painted stones at a hippy cafe, with other hippies. We soaked in the hot springs of a Sikh gurdwara, read books by candle light when there was no 'electric-city' - remember that, mum?
There were temples, camel treks and festivals. There were ghats, snake charmers and yoga. There were thali's, curd and dhals. And horses with slippered ears. There were starving dogs, pink palaces, blue houses and elephants who walked the city streets painted with intricate detail. But mostly I remember it was busy.