Chandigarh gave me just the break I really really needed and nourished me back to my balanced self – some had to do with the non-touristy feel to the city and a lot had to do with my wonderful host. I ended up staying there for 4 days, got some good nights sleeps and some long talks about life and love (what else is there to talk about).
It was a couple of strange days, very conscious about being fragile but on a deeper level very clear and in touch with my heart and I gained some profound insights.
Just one day was very difficult – I was pretty much crying the whole day and of course that was the day I had chosen for sightseeing. Others might have postponed playing tourist but I was pretty damn determined that I was going to see the damn sights. So I went to the Rose Garden – it’s a park and there’s a lot of roses.
And I went to the Rock Garden – it’s a big park build like a fantasy out of rocks, very surreal and kind of cool. At the Rock Garden I almost broke down though – it’s hard enough to feel like shit but when you have an audience at all times, it really does add to the challenge. At one point an entire family is following me and I just know that they want a picture. Earlier that day I had said no for the first time when someone asked me if they could take my picture, I really wasn’t up for it. So this family follows me while talking loudly together and one of the men then starts calling me. I should just have kept walking but I turn around and he asks if they can take my picture and I apologize and says no. As soon as I have said that, several of them takes out their cameras and goes paparazzi on me. It was very uncomfortable. I get so angry and shout at them, which doesn’t impress them at all and then I walk off, immediately starts crying but keeps walking and misses out of quite a bit of the fantasy due to very blurry vision.
After that experience I was pretty exhausted but also wanted to see the lake. It’s an artificial lake and for some reason I thought it would be tranquil and with some beautiful nature relaxation. It was not. Maybe because it was Valentines Day or maybe because it was India, there was loud music, boat rides and a million people. I tried to just stay in my own quiet zone but honestly, it’s hard when people are giving you so much attention and photographing you when they think you don’t notice. I felt like the loneliest person in the world – or the loneliest animal in the zoo.
Well, I did survive and went to the university to meet with Soniya. Waiting for her, I spent some time in the university rose garden. I was walking around smelling all the different kinds of roses and at one point I took just one step out into the dirt to reach a really beautiful one. It turned out that they had just watered that section and so my left foot got completely drowned in mud – it looked great :)
I found Soniya and we got into her car and started driving – and I started crying – again. What a day. We had decided to go watch a Bollywood movie – you can’t go to India without having a Bollywood experience and it really turned out to be a perfect way to escape reality for a while. The movie was in hindi of course but the plot is so simple and they use a lot of English words so I had no trouble following. Bollywood is so cheesy and pretty cool!
I guess that day was another turning point, cleaning out some old to make room for some new. The next day I had clarity and balance and connection with my heart and was ready to move forward.
On Thursday the 16th I had decided to leave for the mountains and so after a day at home being cozy and taking care of some practical stuff I went to the bus terminal to catch the bus to Dharamsala. It’s an 8 hour ride in an old Volvo bus. Not really luxury but the seats does recline – mine was a little broken so that was actually the only thing it could do, be reclined. I had brought snacks and my iPod was charged but I hadn’t realized the falling temperature. Some of the windows were a little broke and as we ascended, the temperature descended and I kept pulling stuff out of my backpack to wrap and cover myself with. We arrived around 3am and thank god I happened to know someone who was there for the weekend so I got picked up at the bus terminal and had a place to crash and didn’t have to be bothered with finding a place until next day.