Things I noticed as I crossed the road while on retreat in India

Retreat to Advance stamp

Context.  “The Road” is a 10 ft wide lane of crumbling blacktop that winds along next to the ashram.  OK…here we go:

  •  14 teenage boys on 4 bikes.   
  • A crowd of exuberant Indian children skipping and jabbering away in Hindi,  in the night…yelling “Hello” in English. (I’m in silence…so all I can do is smile and nod…which makes it worse as I start laughing and can’t stop. )
  • A little horse drawn surrey with tiny horses and a whole family packed in the back. 
  • An endless supply of motorcycles, rickshaws, really loud buses and fantastically painted trucks all honking and swerving together with beautiful sari clad women, babies and children hanging precariously everywhere you look.  Overloaded?  What is overloaded? (Yes, these people are so stunning, I feel like I’m on a movie set.)
  • Sacred Cows, of course. 
  • A wagon pulled by oxen, again packed with beautiful smiling families. 
  • The flower garland vendors who won’t give up their quest to have me purchase and are convinced I haven’t paid for the one they threw around my neck when I wasn’t paying attention yesterday.  Rather than going after me for the rupee’s they have targeted my roommate to pay, who has to dodge them every time she crosses now too.
  • The guards who are quite handsome in a vibrant sort of way, I do feel safe and protected …and a little light headed in their presence. 
  • An old sadhu covered in Kum Kum who looked into my eyes and for several hours I’m seeing stars and galaxies circling around in my head.  And speaking of stars, what is up with the tall smiling, completely amazing European businessman? 
  • A young Indian man, with a wooden box on his head that I am sure has a snake in it. 
  • A parade of chanting pilgrims, complete with megaphones, cymbals, drums and their own teacher carried forward on a garland clad truck.  
  • A truckload of chickens and last but not least….at 3:45am, there is no one but us meditators crossing the road.  The end.

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