My soul is singing.
When I failed to fall pregnant during my last IVF cycle a couple of years ago, and decided to stop trying shortly thereafter, I vowed that I would travel in lieu of children. And I have kept that deal with myself. Last year it was New York City, and this year has been New Zealand and India, culminating today in my arrival here.
Dharamshala has been on my bucket list for twenty years. As I write this, I am sitting on my bed at Hotel Gandhi’s Paradise in front of windows (corner room) looking out at mountains, trees and a waterfall. I almost can’t believe that I am here.
The drive from the airport was supreme. My heart started smiling and it hasn’t stopped.
At one point traffic stopped to let monkeys cross the road. Like, real monkeys. Wild monkeys. Real monkeys. Crossing the road. Traffic stopped. Insane. And, more cows albeit much healthier looking. And, dogs. A few donkeys. And then, more monkeys.
Then the village areas. Many monks. And many Tibetan descendants. The appearance of the descendants is very different to the Indians. Tourists. More monks. One laned, couldn’t even call them roads, paths that people and vehicles travel on, all the while going higher. Small shops that if you purchase something at, you risk being hit by a vehicle. But, all the while, a magical quality; similar to the magical flow of driving in Varanasi.
There is a primal rhythm here, permeating every breath of every person, connecting all. It has not disappointed.
I arrived at the hotel and checked in. The owner is very personable and very accommodating. When I booked online, I booked a non-air conditioned room. It’s cold. I’m an idiot. Needless to say, I am paying extra for the ac. Willingly. Ten dollars a night. Too easy.
It is very cheap here. Food too. Cheaper than Varanasi.
Sanjeev and I sat down this afternoon and talked about a tour. He will plan the itinerary for tomorrow. I am obviously compromised and can’t walk much so trekking to the waterfall I see from my bed is not an option. I think he felt bad for me. I reassured him that all was okay; just being here has lit up my soul. He smiled. He gets it. So, tomorrow I have my own driver and he will take me to the places that Sanjeev says are a must.
On Tuesday, I will sit upstairs and write. I want to compose a short narrative to integrate all of the facets of my experiences here in India.
Wednesday, I regretfully leave here to commence my three pronged journey home. With a sprained ankle, landing after two hours with a foot that closely resembled an elephant’s foot lol.