Thoughts and other trivia...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Within & Without

This is hardly the time to write a post. My feet are killing me, I’m tired as hell and I’m not sure I can think straight but, I guess, in some ways the best time to write is when your defences are down. (As long as this lovely Karma Avoiding Mantra is playing, I guess they’ll stay down anyway.)

For the second day today, I walked the leather off my shoes again. In addition to all the walking I do here anyway, I walked down to St John in the Wilderness yesterday, which is a little over two kilometres down from Mcleodganj (three and a bit, actually, if you count the walk down from my hotel). The church is in a far worse state now than it was when I was here last and, yet, it had enough for me. I loved the place the last time I was here and I loved it this time. There isn’t very much to it, actually, except, for me, where it is set and the simple stone structure, the burial ground around it, the lovely trees and the general sense of calmness it exudes. I may have had some apprehensions while I was walking down to it but I’m so glad I went. It was definitely worth it.

Later, after the usual couple of hours on the terrace at Nick’s Italian Kitchen Restaurant, where I have lunch and do a little of my work, I spent a good part of the evening at the Temple, where some student-monks were engaged in a class and, perhaps, debating a theological point in that very dramatic manner that is unique to them. Unlike my last visit many years ago, however, I did spin the Prayer Wheels this time...on each of the three occasions I went there.

In the afternoon today, I was wandering around rather aimlessly when, without having planned it, I found myself on a long trek that took me beyond the Bhagsu Nag Temple and beyond the waterfall. I didn’t know where I was heading but kept going anyway, on what turned out to be a steep-ish climb that ended in a rather anti-climactic manner, and abruptly, at Shiva Cafe. In itself, the cafe is pretty ordinary but, when seen as a part of the whole climbing experience and the setting, it was pretty good. I would have regretted not going, as I do not going to Triund, which, a local chai-shop fellow told me, is a “piece of heaven”.

As my time here is done, I’m trying to figure out the trip. A friend, who’s been pestering me about it on mail, says “McL suits you” and that I should keep going back because, she says, it's the first time she’s really heard and felt me sounding so relaxed. (The italics are hers.) I guess, it’s true...partly.

Until I was on the bus to McLeodganj, I wasn’t sure I’d even make the trip because I really can’t remember when I last did something only for myself. Sounds strange even as I say it but it’s true. So, just getting here, in itself, was an achievement for me and that I’ve stayed on for about a week is an even bigger one.

As far as the place is concerned, sure, there’re the hills and there’s the peace and quiet and the trekking trails but, I think, McLeodganj is more than just a place. It’s an experience. And, perhaps, that’s the reason why a majority of Indian tourists who come here are only on a day visit. Because, after all, it was no more than a two-street town when I was last here and it isn’t a fair lot more now.

I have no doubt that I’ll be back soon and, hopefully, stay longer. In fact, I’d love to come back at the end of next month but I don’t know if I will. Just like I didn’t want to go alone on the trek to Triund, which is 11 kilometres one way, I don’t want to come here alone at the peak of winter.

Yeah, it’s been good but I also know that you can do what you want and you can go where you will but if you don’t have it in you, you won’t find it anywhere. Equally, if it’s in you, you can’t run from it.


Blogger A K said...

GOTJ - you may think I'm getting pushy and you might get angry but I'll have to take the chance and ask again - did you write this comment on the blog about abuse -

I'm writing again because I believe that you have also been a victim and from your comment there its obvious that you still haven't addressed the issue. I'm requesting you again to please get in touch with out help group. You cam mail me on

God bless!

12:28 am  

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