Words and photos by Victoria
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about India it’s that, truly, nothing is in control. Things run late, if the man says tomorrow, it probably means next week. If you order your supper, your dessert may arrive 1 hour before your meal. You might go crazy at the sound of the beeping horns and scooters and then calm at the sight of the soothing Maa Ganga, her turquoise waters surging peacefully southward. It’s true, nothing is in control: including how it might make you feel. Being in a the alcohol free zone of Rishikesh heightens your senses to everything this wonderful country has to offer. This is India. And I love it.
India From The Back Of A Scooter
It is two months now since my extraordinary month in Northern India, and the words I use still do not quite live up to describing the experience. Colourful, fragrant, chaotic, calming. On my first visit to Rishikesh – the “yoga capital of the world” – a city which is totally vegetarian and alcohol-free, I had spent my time closeted high up above the River Ganges (the Maa Ganga). I was closeted away with my teacher, Maa, listening and studying from the comfort of her wooden cabin high above the sounds, smells and stereotypes of the buzzing Indian Holy city below.
I had spent a hair-raising afternoon on the back of my indian friend’s Triumph motorbike. Jag drove us through the bottlenecked and bejewelled market streets of Rishikesh. Meandering across cliffside motorways with a jaw-dropping close-up view of the River Ganga below we raced on to the wide-empty countryside roads bordered by the greenest rice-paddy fields I have ever seen.
The Warmth Of The Indian People
This was India. So many different “zones” for the western eye to richly feast on. In most places it was poverty on paper; and yet you would be amazed at how the Indian people show gratitude for their rich lives. A beaming toothless smile from the woman propping up her roadside tarpaulin home was one of the many testaments to that. We tunnelled forwards and through the traffic, arriving at Jag’s farmhouse at dusk with a hot cup of his mother’s masala chai waiting for us.
My trip to this place has never left me: driving there, being there, not even my departure has left me. I remember how Jag’s mother’s orange sari burned just as bright and clear as the sun setting over their green, green fields, one arm resting in her son’s arm and the other waving goodbye until we were both well out of each other’s sight. Though my hair was a sight after the motorbike journey, my heart and belly were full. Besides, the hair was no bother: all I could see was a country and people with whom I have fallen in love.
The Chaos Without And The Peace Within
There is something about India that seems to bring us closer to our own hearts and to each other. There is something about the way it stirs us. It can challenge us. Then it brings us to a place where the dust settles and we realise that there was nothing waiting to be settled all along.
No matter what life has or hasn’t thrown at you, how much you’ve read or how long you’ve held tree pose, India really does offer you the chance of enlightenment. It offers you, amidst all of the challenges, the chance to lighten up in the face of them all.
Read the rest of this article at The Voice of Calm
For years I have allowed myself to be shy and not promote that which I do and share in Yoga. Best though to step this silly self out of the way and suggest how easy it is to be absolutely healthy in Attitude and Perspective and from there to realise health in Spirit, Mind and Body. Tapping into the tremendous intelligence that is available to us is so powerful yet so simple. And the outcome of this is so wonderful. It is to be “INJOY” regardless of circumstance or appearance. It is that which the masters through time have invited us unto. It is the natural state and nothing can be done to create it. Through reminding, we simply remember to rest as it. It is “THat I Am” the ancient teachings resound. They remain more fresh and new than any contemporary philosophy.