When I started traveling I was around 30 years old. Europe seemed far away and scary. Yet the more cities and countries that I experienced the more I wanted to push the envelope, to maintain that fear and anticipation of my first travel. India was one of those places that I maintained a healthy respect for and of what I might get myself into.
So, with just a plane ticket and a hotel room, I landed in Mumbai. India did not disappoint me. I have very few photos and videos from India, but Jim Seaton is sending me what he has. The stories once written will be good ones, I promise.
On my first trip to India, I spent my time in Goa, Calcutta and a trip up the river into the Sundarbans Mangrove National Park which covers more than 10,000 square kilometers (3000 sq. miles) from West Bengal India into Bangladesh. My second trip was with Jim and Theresa and we traveled extensively, down the rivers of Kerala on the west coast, all the way across the country to Darjeeling and Kashmir in the Himalayan mountains. My third trip to India included a month’s teacher training at a yoga school in Rishikesh.
During my time in Rishikesh India, I spent a month at Vidya Mandiram yoga teachers training school. We were up at six in the morning for chanting in Sanskrit, then anatomy, breathing, Asanas (yoga forms), Karma yoga (cleaning) lunch, more Asanas, an hour with Swami Omkarananda (Swami O) ‘below in orange’ and finishing with an hour of deep meditation.
What is shown below is some photos from the traditional fire ceremony performed before you begin your training to ‘awaken the subtle forces of life’.’
A small wistful sound, almost a whisper, caused me to awaken from my fitful slumber. I opened my eyes enough to sense, to recognize the small figure silhouetted against the dim haze of light creeping in from the partially opened door.
I had been slipping in and out of fitful dreams that kept repeating themselves, like a scratched vinyl album, for days and was forced to open my eyes to make the visions reset, to a new dream that would repeat again and again. I was not surprised when I noticed the soft shimmering wings that fluttered from the back of the young ‘Sister of Mercy’ and her white nurses uniform.
I had been awoken rather abruptly the previous morning by my rather large brusk doctor who grabbing my hand and stood over my bed shaking it vigorously. He was congratulating me on being the proud owner of a confirmed diagnosis of Typhoid Fever. When I looked slightly confused he continued with great merriment that, “that is what he had been treating me for, I was going to live.”
And he also let me know that typhoid was the ‘God Father’ of all bacteria and once it reaches the brain I might expect the world to appear a little strange at times.
Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, West Bengal India. We were three days up the river when word came to the small compound surrounded by a large chain wire fence where we stayed. A woman in a nearby village had been savagely attacked by a ‘man-eating tiger’.
We decided to return to that village early the following morning and what we found was enough to give true credit to the saying that ‘life is stranger than fiction’.