This is India
I have come to the end of an extraordinary month in Northern India. It has been colourful, fragrant, chaotic and yet 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) 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 Jag’s - my indian friend’s - Triumphmotorbike weaving from the bottlenecked and bejewelled market streets of Rishikesh, meandering across cliffside motorways with a jaw-dropping close-up view of the River Ganga below, to the wide-empty countryside roads bordered by the greenest rice-paddy fields I have ever seen. 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 setting sun, 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. 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. This is India. And I love it.
The rest is another story; there is simply too much to tell. For now, and to honour the saying that a picture says a thousand words, here are two of my favourites. 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.
TII: This is India, which each of these women embraced. Each of the women you see in these photos have a story, none of which need to be told. Each of these women went on a journey, which began before the moment they booked their flight. Each of these women trusted, and that which they gained from India was matched by the weight of what they chose to let go whilst there. What is unusual about each of these women - and I do not know if it’s something about India that spurred this - is that they all connected before even getting on the plane from London. From start to finish, the bonds they made were rooted in support, love and laughter. Weeks on now, this has not changed. TII, and amen to that.
I will be posting more stories from India over the next few weeks on Instagram: click here to follow, if you wish to see more.
By Victoria Adams
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.