Disjointed jottings

My firm conviction that women are my preferred  objects of desire stand corrected after the stay in the ashram. I'll admit it, even in the ashram I used to check the gals out. Yeah, I know, what a hard life a man has ! But not with hope or pleading eyes, as in the outside world. Oh no,Here we are the catch ! We are the ones who are forbidden to mix with them . A la role reversal. Yes we brahmacharis (even though short term !) are the prize catch indeed. Also the protective atmosphere of the ashram makes it easy to treat it as a game , and not the life and death scenario that chasing a woman usually involves. :D Hell I don't do chasing , I get chased.

It was this week that I realized that all this changed albeit temporarily. Usually I used to subtly check the women out on the way to the dining hall which was the only place where you could relaistically meet them. Any pretty girls visiting? But this week I suddenly realized I had stopped doing this. Now before you make assumptions like my  kundalini had begun its upward ascent or something like that,  I'll tell you my new vice. Actually there are a few. Topping the list is Gulab jamun. Ahhh heaven , bliss intoxication, I had 3 today. So sweet so soft. No need to seduce that sugary little brown ball. Where's the need to say sweet nothings ?Also not really necessary to take your clothes off for full enjoyment. Although I do admit to looking lovingly at them before they disappeared down my alimentary canal.God i can still taste those 3 juicy slightly crunchy gulab jamuns. Fruit Custard ( be still my heart !) comes second and Jalebi a close third.

The funny or not so funny part is that I am not alone. Its one of the greatest paradoxes in spirituality that the more you delve into yourself the more the world opens to you in every way. You notice the flowers that you never noticed before on the sidewalk. The river so ordinary before now seems endless in its shades and movement. The women are all pretty , irrespective whether they are 16 or 60. Maybe why all the scriptures warn the aspirant to not look at the opposite sex.The food has never tasted as delicious as this ever. Even though you are lectured day in and out on the impermanence of desire the desire is still there. Only it transfers to a more acceptable vice. That's why you will find many sanyasins/priests with a thing for food. Im hardly a sanyasin but since ive been following their lifestyle for 2 months i guess ive developed some of their qualities !
The most comfortable item of wear in a hot climate has to be the mundu(dhoti). Yes indeed I'm loving the feeling of wearing a skirt and connecting with the feminine side of me ! Last post I wrote how unusual it was to find a ladies bag in the Ganga. My friend rang a couple of numbers from an address  book in the bag. He located the lady who came to meet him distraught, to collect her belongings. She had arrived in Rishikesh the previous evening with her friend and was staying in an ashram on the opposite bank. She goes for an early morning dip with her handbag, leaves it at the side of the river on the ghats takes 3 dips in 15 seconds turns around and oui, it's gone with 7000/-. AGH , women ! Not a tiny sum for an Indian. That's India, folks spirituality happily coexists( i think!) with depravity, all part of a universal moral order. I better stop before I start a lecture ...
Still in matters related to the dining hall there was a lady there yesterday handing out crisp 100/- notes to the Sanyasins. The monks are ones who are supposed to have renounced everything and live on the charity of others. Still it seemed wierd to see them accept it so casually without guilt,happiness or thankfulness as if it was just a daily affair. I was helping the kitchen out late into the afternoon when the Swami who manages the dining hall materializes infront of me with the 'cash lady'. 'These guys do seva(selfless service, ha!) here' , pointing to me and another guy. My co-sevak jumped for the money with glee. I mumbled something to the Swami about the inappropriateness but found it rude/uncomfortable to refuse. In the end i think I did the right think coz my ego took  a big hit. I was a beggar although a bit of a posh one. You know the whole point of begging is to reduce/annihilate the ego. I've no doubt about that considering how difficult it was to accept money even when doled out with a free heart.

I've been shot

Im just back from the laundry. A tiny 1 room hut by the roadside which serves as a shop and home for a family of six. As I sat on the charpoy waiting for my dhoti to be ironed the two youngest kids were splashing about in a metal 'tub'. It says something about my isolated non family existence that I couldn't remember the last time I saw children stark naked having the time of their lives. The little girl closed her nostrils with her hands and was diving into the water repeatedly laughing all the time. Her brother though kept throwing tantrums inbetween, sulking a lot reminding me of my younger days. The same situation provididng very different reactions in people ! Everything and everyone in and around the vicinity were wet.

A very good day today. A documentary team from Canada shot us cleaning the shit out of Ganga, but alas my 5 seconds of fame were for nothing. We were unidentifiable under the green masks !

The  Kumbh Mela is almost over. For over a week millions of people marched into Haridwar and neighbouring Rishikesh hoping to absolve their sins by taking a dip in the Ganga at the auspicious time. Pure superstition you say ! According to Pundits one of the days was so auspicious that it comes only once in 5000 years ! So I decided not to take the chance and dive in !

There were people sleeping everywhere during the past  week including the roads. Even our early morning visits to the Ganga were not so serene anymore. But you've got to admire the tenacity of the ordinary Indian, how they make do with so little. Makes me ashamed of myself and my never ending needs.The most bizarre thing was the public announcement system. The majority of people visiting were from the interior villages of India. In the mad rush, people get lost,and so there is a public address  system to let people know if someone's missing or lost. But here's the unique desi twist . You make the announcement yourself. Women screaming their lungs out shouting  'helllloooooo, heeelllooooo, kahan heeyyy tuuuu? (where are you?)' is very common. As if the lost person also has a mike and is going to holler back. There are requests, scoldings, rants, sometimes dialects you have never heard of...you get the gist. Highly amusing...and very noisy.

Ah one more week in the ashram folks, and I have absolutely no clue where i should be heading next. Any suggestions welcome ;) Usually nature takes care of that as I meet someone or come to know of something that intrigues me. Also, a strange never before desire to settle down somewhere near here. I tell you, the river has bewitched me no end...Something unusual happened today. As i was swimming in the Ganges found a ladies handbag, full with personal stuff like driver's license, mp3 player etc. Don't get excited people, no money was involved ! So there it is , my stay drawing to a close, maybe, and the thermometer shooting steadily up, for sure!

Intimate with mother

Sunday is our 'rest' day. But we still have to get up at 4 to meditate. I'm getting used to this four o'clock business now. Today I was up at 3:45 and  follow my routine of brushing teeth getting fully dressed and steeping out. It's so quiet outside, Rishikesh looks like a ghost town. There's only one place to go to, where she flows like a queen, looking very proud and aloof. I offer my pranams to enter and she kind of says ok. The cold is indescribable just like the waning moon rising over the mountains. Magical landscape kind of numbed by the cold. Im out in a minute, any more than that and I might be lining myself up for pneumonia !

After breakfast some of us line outside the dining hall in green jackets,gloves and green masks. It looks like a major O.T (Operation theatre) Unfortunately our undertaking is not that glamorous ! We are about to venture forth to ....pick garbage ! One of our sanyassinis from the West (where else?) spearheads the effort working on behalf of an NGO, as we go rag picking through Rishikesh. Working mainly with the help of donations and money collected from hotels and homes, it's an intriguing concept that surprisingly works.They have workers who collect and sort garbage everyday, recycling everything that can be recycled. All the biscuit wrappers, tobacco pouches and the flashy chocolate wrappers are the ones that can't be recycled and go straighht to the landfill. I'll think twice before buying 'Hide and Seek' biscuits again !

People on the road give us strange looks as we move along with big jute sacks picking up 'stuff' on the way. A very crazy way to spend a Sunday but I love it ! On our way back to the Ashram some of us continue the craziness and suddenly decide we want to get intimate with the mother.  So we speed off on a jeep 15 km uphill. The huge yellow raft is unloaded from the jeep and we put our life jackets on. With an instructor and helper on board, sitting at the very back, we delve into the bossom of Mother Ganga. I sit at the front , the place of maximum wettability. The Hindus have a belief that you should enter the river without disturbing it especially a holy river like the Ganga. So we always ask for blessings since we are about to fool around ! Yes, highly superstitious but feels good anyway ! The rapids were exhilarating and scary. There were times when we thought we would capsize. All we saw was water and then in the middle of that , the instructor screams us to paddle harder !

On calmer waters we jumped abroad and swam ahead of the boat. one of the guys was scared to jump in the water because of pure hydrophobia, and lack of knowledge of the art of swimmology. Even with the life jacket he was not budging an inch. All our persuasions fell on deaf ears. So we did the only decent thing to do, dumped him into the water headfirst. He also happened to be the last guy to come back on board ! I will never forget the feeling as I floated down the river looking up at the sky , feeling the sun and the mountains and forest all around me! We came back wet, exhausted and very very happy. I'm falling in love with the river more and more everyday...

Acceptance Speech

For all  people interested, Devil's Musings has picked up another award. Yes folks, I know it was just a matter of time considering how good a writer i think myself to be ;) Bad jokes apart, I am not a big fan of awards , competition, etc. But since blogging awards usually don't come with money, my non materialistic self is sort of ok with it. Sepo deemed it fit to bestow upon me this award:

Just for a change im going to stop being narcisstic and talk about 5 wonderful people I'm passing this on to. They are all unique but have many things in common:
1)I have never met any of them in the real world.
2)They have stood by me and commented through times of frequent posting, and times of post famine.
3)They keep coming back and read every post even though i don't go to their blogs for weeks.
4)They are all gorgeous women who write exceptionally well.

So in every way apt for this award !

This applies to Sepo as well. So ladies thanks a bunch! For my other regular readers, thank yopu as well for your regular visits and support. Unfortunately im allowed to pass this on to only 5 folks, so until next time...

The  Winners:
Raji  Don't let the simple layout fool you. Just in her teens she writes exquisitely in a wide canvas not limited to the usual fascination with fashion, boy bands et al. Check out her latest post Wishes and Dreams and you'll know what i mean !
Jai Published author. Do i need to say more ? Highly recommended with a huge fan following. My gut feeling says shes also a nice person at heart !
Jeeves  Another young writer who puts her heart into her writing. Non pretentious and very enjoyable read.
Gal next door Anonymous blogger who can rant and fume and also go totally soft. The variety of topics she handles is mind boggling and i never quite know what to expect when i visit !
Elmoniv One of my favourite bloggers in terms of style of writing. Go see yourself !

Just before you think that i cater only to the opposite sex, I will be failing in my duties if I don't give an award to a fellow vagabond:

21st century nomad takes honesty to a whole new level. I am a big fan of his post cards !