After 2-weeks, and in spite of saying I was only going to post fresh pieces, I still have a few last thoughts on India. In fact a part of India travelled with me to Australia in the form of an intestinal parasite. Nobody gets to have 4-months of blissful bowel action without some darn bug breaking through the defences. So here it is, a resurrected draft, a ‘to be continued’ post on the ongoing state of Ashby and his relationship to India.
Time’s up! A final hour left before the taxi grinds through the early evening Calcutta traffic to drop us at the airport. There’s still a lot to say about this country and with so little sand left in the hourglass now is not the best time.
I have spent nearly a year of my life in India and have not made huge advances with the main language, Hindi. This lack is in large part due to so many Indians having a good working knowledge of English. Thus I have become lazy when I travel here and fall back on my native tongue.
If you find yourself stuck for inspiration or down in the dharma doldrums then I believe I have the place for you. It’ll take a few days of fairly hard walking to get there and will involve some level of discomfort but, trust me, it will be more than worth it.
If there is one noise in India that will ultimately test the patience of even the most battle hardened traveller it is the blast of a horn – or horns as it is rare that you hear just one.
Being a cow can really help in India given the massive cultural respect and significance paid to the bovine race by those of a Hindu persuasion. For Indians honouring the cow is believed to inspire in people the virtues of gentleness and connectedness with nature.
Foreword: I have put my shoulder to the wheel of the Dharma and nudged it round a fraction more. A week in near silence as a respite from India was just the tonic. But it was not all silence.
There comes a time on almost every extended trip when one finally loses the desire – hopefully temporarily – to get back in the ring. You have been under the cosh a little too long and things that you once thrilled to now have a grey and grimy lustre to them.
In India you will find buildings of a sort to transfix and transport your sensibilities to the highest planes and also to drag them to the saddest and most desperately sorry depths. And often they are near neighbours.
This afternoon I performed my last filial duty and scattered what remained of my father’s ashes at the Taj Mahal in India.