Saturday, August 23, 2008

India... The land of spiritually

I hate it when I get the middle seat, when traveling on an airplane. Window seat is best, for I still have this child like enthusiasm of looking outside the window, specially during take off and landing, and when spotting any familiar landmark on the ground from the high up gives such a nice feeling. But I hate the middle seat. But middle seat, that was in store for me as I was taking up this flight to Delhi for the start of my trekking trip to Valley of Flowers.

Well, I was almost the last to enter the plane, and as I was grudgingly walking to my seat, 23B, and WoW, WoW, WoW, I could not believe it !! There were two beautiful ladies on A and C. Could I have asked for any better start of my trek holiday.

The Aisle side girl, was a about early twenties aged, she looked fairly cosmopolitan, and could not figure out her origins (north, south, east, west??), she was reading sudha murthy, "Wise and Otherwise". Good for me, that was some subject, which I could talk to no end, about sudha murthy and her NGO stories and so on. As soon as things settled, and air hostess was through with that regulatory speech on safety, I started my attempt to start the conversation. But this girl turned out to be very snorty, I dont know sometimes some people act as if they are carrying the entire burden of universe on their shoulders, and consider it a crime to smile and chat for couple of minutes.

I decided better to leave her alone and turned my attention to this other lady. She was glued to looking outside the window as a five year old, climbing the plane for first time. She was not Indian, was very red in her cheeks and guess she was from Europe,

"Hi", I said,
"Where you from?" I asked,
"Am from Ukraine, earlier part of USSR", she said
"I come to India searching for spirituality",

WoW, that was great, I had always read on web, people traveling to India for spirituality, but had never personally met one. And then she went on and on and on and on. Telling me about India and how it fascinated her, and how this place was so beautiful and how spirituality was still, a part of everyday life of each Indian. She told me things which I am ashamed to say that I did not know about India. She took out her camera and took me through the photo tour, of her journey, from Manali, to ladakh, to Hampi of temples and monestaries, telling me stories about them.

Listening to her, I was wondering how much do I actually care to know and understand the rich culture that we have. Most of the times, we just discard the stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata as just the work of fiction. Also probably the way they show on TV, with so many arrows disappearing, and more than life figures that really makes it look far from reality. But the entire conversation made me feel very happy, and wanting to learn more.

Conversation also reminded me of reading this research done by some firang (or some website was it, dont remember, Alzheimer I guess ), and his inference was that Ganga is not a natural river. He had done some analysis of the base of lot of rivers and came to conclusion that Ganga is actually a man made river. I guess if you are aware of the story of how God was pleased with Bagirath's penance and he send Ganga down. And in all probability guess Bagirath was a great Engineer and he crafted way of all small streams coming for Himalayas, in to one big man made canal, which we now call Ganga.

Anyways, because of all this interesting conversation flight journey ended in no time, and by the end this snorty girl seemed to be interested in talking, but then it was already midnight and I was lost in thoughts of Ganga, and spirituality guess I was already half way up to my trek. Could there be any better start to trek to himalayas?

PS: Was away on Trekking, and hence the blog was silent.


brocasarea said...

hmm....thats really is a nice experience!..:)

must ur trekiing snaps!

Bala said...

When are you going to post the photos from the trek?

As for experiencing the culture goes, I had some of that when I watched a different culture altogether in close proximity and started comparing it with mine. I also learned a lot by watching my own culture from the outside. It is amazing how it is impossible to detach oneself from a culture when you are surrounded by people from the same culture.

That is why there is a proverb in Kannada "tour the nation, read the encyclopedia". Those two should provide a very good understanding of one's surroundings.

Rashmi said...

When i am discussing abt our country and culture with the phirangs here,i realise how little i know and i am so ashamed :(


Lakshmi B K said...

I've a documentary video at home on the valley of flowers. Looks like it's a wonderful place. You're lucky to be there. Write a post on it and upload photos.

Lakshmi B K said...

If you find the translated version of 'parva' authored by S.L.Bhyrappa, read it. It's the story of Mahabharat told in realistic words. Indraloka becomes himalaya, apsaras become the fair skinned hilly people in the cold himalayas, brave people of a lady become the pandavas and so on.. It's a very good book. You'll find answers to all the super-human adventures described in conventional mahabharat books. Also, you'll find references to most of the places and the great rivers of North India.