Rishikesh – The Right Connection

Mystic Rishikesh

Amidst my Excel columns and Outlook reminders, came an ill typed mail.
“Hey man! I am going back home this weekend, do you want to tag along?”

The sender of this mail was driving to Dehradun, and my mind was driving crazy. One part of me wanted to be free and roam around in a place where I don’t belong, understand it and in process understand myself. My other part told me to understand the Excel sheets and in process understand why I am paid X amount of money. Finally on Friday my hands packed up a bag and I was magically in my friend’s car seat. He dropped me at Roorkee, from there a bus to Haridwar and then to Rishikesh.

So what did I understand and learn this time? Well I will say two things for sure.

What you see and think, the first impression might not be true.
On bus ride to Rishikesh, was joined by two backpackers from Maldives, who looked like our cousins from southern India., two backpackers from Europe, and a group of ‘taus'(uncles) from greenland (read Haryana). The ‘taus’ like me initially thought the Maldive friends to be Indian and one of the ‘taus’ thought of striking a conversation.

Tau: “Haan re chore, kathe se away se?” (Hey lad, where are you coming from?)
Maldive friend: Blank looks.
Tau: Repeats.
Maldive friend: Repeats blank looks.
Tau: Repeats the question third time.
European friend: “Usse Hindi nahi aati” (He doesn’t know Hindi)
Tau: Now blank looks.
Everyone sitting nearby including me: All blank looks.
European friend: “Usse Hindi nahi aati” (He doesn’t know Hindi)
Tau: “Haire duniya! jo socha wo galat. Jisse Hindi aani chahiye usse nahi aati, jisse nahi aani chahiye usse aati hain” (Oh my god! All that I thought was incorrect. The one supposed to know Hindi does not, one supposed to not, does)
Me: “Tau, jo dekha, jo socha wo hamesha sahi nahi hota” (What you see and think, the first impression might not be true)

Then came my second teaching while sipping tea. Sign language might be primitive but that’s all you need while you travel.
I was sipping tea with Sushil ji, a local tea shop owner. As it was raining we didn’t expect any customers. Then suddenly came a man running, half drenched, looking for shelter. Sushil ji took this opportunity to offer some tea, obviously not for free, he isn’t running a charity. While Sushil ji was busy, we exchanged smiles and glances. I pulled out my pack of nicotine to have a smoke, and he gestured to pass on one. I did gladly, only a smoker knows pain of dearth of nicotine. I asked his name. He said “No English”. I asked “Hindi?” “No Hindi”. So with all the sign language I could muster was finally able to convey the message – How would you travel and survive in India, if you know neither Hindi nor English. And he made one gesture, pointing a finger, no not the middle one, but the one pointing towards sky, denoting – The One, known by many names.

That’s when I realized, it doesn’t matters where you are, who you are with, you just need to find the right connection to be one with The One.

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