HIGHLIGHTS from the collection of 6 women. We gather on the train back to Delhi and ultimately we will return home to Canada. A long overnight and first class accommodations on the train begins. We get together to talk about our experiences and our views, shared with our guide and supported as always by each other.
Night sky with stars touching the ground, deep sharp contrast. Big sky – I have never seen such a big sky. So big and so dark. Bright stars. From the earth they appear on every horizon as far as we can see and the sky is black with speckled stars and lights. It is magnificent and every one of us is in awe of this night and the sights.
Meeting with the dancer, exchange and learning a little bit about her. Her husband at home watching the baby. She had been able to move to her passion to be dancer (passed on for generations) but been working as a snake charmer and is now able to do this. She has two sons so she won’t be passing on the dance to them. Hearing her story. Where she learned to dance. Human connection — generations of passing on the dancing. Appreciate Lalu being there to communicate with the dancer. Her face, body language … respect and grace with us. She calmly and intense, sharp, watching … with grace in answering questions
Dinner on top of the Fort …. the way we were served, the fabulous food, the attention of Lalu’s friends, the view, fireworks – as if it was all in place just for us. Invited to the family monthly gathering to celebrate the life of Lalu’s father – such a generosity to open his home to us. May have been the most beautiful place, how they took care of us. His friends looking after us. Flat terrace overlooking city. Tony’s coffee.
That evening, seeing the family – we got the idea, flashlight, uncle, kids running up and down the roadways in fort. Seeing family attachments. In awe of the family attachment. I have never been around this type of family. Intellectual fellow – past life regression. Recorded video clip. Hypnotic state??? Spreading fresh breath into other … he lost a son and then a wife. Newly married again – the pain he went through. Mentoring other people – we all have to move on.
Cooking Indian cuisine experience, that lady opening up her home to us. Pakoras, involvement, learning new skill, mastering masala chai, instructions on video, people in the house were so gracious – the men, women, kids. How they function in their kitchen space, in their home. Felt like “I could do this”. Learning with the language barrier. Chapati. Too heavy, add more oil, little water. Our hands are in it so we can feel what it will feel like when we do it again. That is how they learn and teach and so to be part of that process. Out of my comfort zone with new foods, numb lips (I can take a little heat). Did not “not” try a food because it was unfamiliar. Texture, they were impressed on how Christa was able to do it. Feel the texture – a lot of fun. We felt welcomed in to the family. The woman – judge’s day. The young girl.
Tuk tuk ride on back from the fort that night. With Pam and Donna, lights. Generations of family sharing information and just chatting. Being part of it … Sense of a big family. Very special to be able to see that.
Sterilize that! The train on the way to Jaisalmer … coming up against contrast to what we would experience in day to day life. Finding our comfort and connectedness. Sense of supporting one another. Bonding as a group. Special. Enjoyed as it gave us an opportunity to see the landscapes of the country and get a little snippet of the life of the outside community – the local … untainted by the world. Their simple life. Water jugs on the heads of women as they daily serve their families and communities to basic necessities. The sparse trees, the meager accommodations, the satellite dishes, the colorful sarees, the hard physical labor of the peoples of this country in the rural areas.
Porters carrying our luggage at the train station. On their heads. Lalu told how he negotiated … asked for a lot. Maybe 3 times more what he should. Lalu told him he would lose his food. In the end he was paid what he was wanting. Touching hand at end. Showing picture to the porter that we had witnessed his hard work, and shared in the knowing that it was difficult and yet, his job, to serve these tourists.
The intense feeling of Solitude on sand dunes. Felt small and insignificant on the dune. Me and the dung beetle. Peaceful. Silent, nothing to do and no where to be, Just here, just this space. Just now, We all Enjoyed the camel ride quiet and personal, each on our own, some tethered together, walking out in to the wild adventure that is a desert in India. This is truly a fantastic experience. Camel ride is very special.
Animals we saw. Bumping into goats, pigs, cows, dogs, horses, sheeps, deer, monkeys, elephants, men riding horses on the streets. Hearing the Howling of dogs.
The children, smiles and openness. Joy. Wonderful, intensity. Little girl touching Heather hands at the train station. We all felt it, perhaps Heather is forever changed by the bridging of our cultures. We truly are one on this globe. Magic.
The Lake and life line water source for Jaisalmer, the sunrise and golden light in the morning. We met Krishna. We hear her story and see the age on her hands and face. She tells the story of her sons, and her losses, her experience as an “untouchable” in this India. She is beautifully adorned in gold jewels and has retired from her government service as a sweeper. She has worn the same sweater now 5 years … coral colored. She will go on the train today to see family. We learn of her thoughts and impressions as Lalu asks questions that have arisen in his mind from our time together the previous night. He is learning about violence against women and so he searches to understand the meaning even on this day, this interaction, and this community. The conversation matters.
Donna and Pam went to see Luv. He was our tour guide last year for two weeks on the Indus Royal India tour with 17 women through Rajasthan. Wonderful guy, really liked him. Taught us so much. He was there and Lalu could make that connection. Donna and I – no Id no money, flying through streets in a Tuk tuk! Took us to hotel we went to last year … after a bit of exploring we know we are in the wrong place, but fun to see our old hotel. We get in with driver – to next hotel … Luv just arriving with group from Medicine Hat and Calgary. Warm and Fun. Hugs, appreciation and gratitude. Lalu is with us again and we head back to the Fort.
Jaipur. Our hotel. Alsisair Haveli, Beautiful place inside the gate. And away from the beep beeps and chaos outside the door and isn’t he streets, An oasis. Older woman at the pool. Greeted, questions, lovely. Tired and stunned …Beautiful place, someones’ home. We are always welcomed wherever we go and we feel cared for. The hospitality in India seems so gracious while not necessarily luxurious. Caring is in small details and personal reception.
Sunrise at the lake. Chaotic and swirling Catfish in the lake. Someone throwing bread. Fish, cows, dogs, birds, monkeys. All sacred in India. To feed them is good karma. Life is precious here, animals and human. Dinner in Jaipur that we had together was lovely.
Putting the gifts together for Lalu’s family. We were in the Jasmin Haveli hotel room. See where they live. Mom shed tears over simple gifts. Great honor. Felt like we lived there. Connected. I hope they know that we appreciate Lalu and for his time with us.
Jain temples. Energy from the east – and the story about the tunnel. 1200 page catalogue from so long ago. Translated by a guy who knows 17 languages of the world. Born blind, guru. 1940s or so … he went to school University in Varanasi (4 million students). Masters degree. Mrs Gandhi was Prime Minister … gave award, medallion for his work. Won two awards …. won third award. She was wanting to know what is happening out here?? 3 more awards …. different subjects. She came down from stage and went to him. How come? I can see from heart …
Lalu lemon – we think we might like to help him brand this in India, ha ha.
Deb’s wine and No Jet Lag – her generosity and keeping to her own needs and desires to make this a comfortable trip for her. She speaks her mind, she holds her own, she enjoys her space and she shares the wine!
Shopping, taking me, back to the Coop … with my shopping list and getting it done. Power shopped. We went with intention. We had the pallet from the day before. 4 of those, one of these.
Watching Colleen buying her carpet and supporting her. Now I need to go away and digest the information. I kept getting more and more information. Overload and overwhelming.
Conversations with Lalu and Jitu about the business, the spa, the empowerment of women in a culture that has long ignored this half of the population. We get to some critical points and I know I am here for a reason. My presence today and in future will change India. I know this somehow deep in my core. I feel the resonance with the mama and the women we have met, and the men I have challenged to be be better men. I feel the empowerment and the love I have shared and the change I have implemented. I am so grateful for this week and the opportunity to grow. These wonderful 6 women who shared and supported each other openly. The men who are held to account and who we know are up to the challenge of implementing change in their community.