This past weekend, Ash and I went on another surrounding area adventure! Ash insisted on going to this small town, around 100km outside of Pune, called Bhigwan (or Big Oven as I like to call it). He wanted to photograph the migratory birds that hang out in the backwaters during the winter season. Initially, I expressed zero interest in waking up at 4am on a Sunday to become a bird spy, but Ash promised I would enjoy the village visit so I set my alarm for 4:10am and off we went.
When we arrived in the very small village just after 7am, visitors were already in the boats with their mega lenses capturing the ‘action’. Before hopping into a boat I used the “bathroom” which, to no surprise, consisted of a cement block and an old woman holding a blanket around me. Seeing as this was an ‘off the grid’ tourist’s attraction, the village woman was very happy and proud to have a foreigner use her bathroom at her house. As such, she took great pride in holding up the blanket. I thanked her for her services and promised I would come back for some masala chai (my India addiction) after our tour.
We were led down to the river where there were two boats. Both of the boats were the same except one was full of water, and inside the boat sat a man with a bucket scooping out swamp water. Right next to his boat was a dead bird, at which point I sarcastically stated “well, there’s your bird and there’s your boat.” We both had a good laugh and prepared to climb into the dry boat, that is until the woman suddenly rowed away. Ash stated “she’s probably going to do a lap and warm up her arms, then come back and get us.” Of course, that would be the result of predictable India, but we live in the much more exciting unpredictable India. Instead, the man emptying water from the other boat had finished his swamp-scooping and called us over to board. Ash and I broke out into laughter and without hesitation climbed into the boat.
We toured the peaceful backwaters for a little over an hour. Mr. National Geographic enjoyed capturing the wildlife through his mega lens while I sat back and enjoyed the sunrise. After the boat ride, we returned to the little woman’s house for a delicious village breakfast and chai. When asked how much for the excursion and breakfast, the woman simply stated “I have filled your tummy. Give whatever you think will fill mine.” Her simple words were proof of how little the villager’s value money. Not having much themselves they could very well charge a high price for their service, but instead they base their income on donation. They would have let you stay all day; continually filling your plate with food, giving all they had in order to ensure you had a good visit. What makes them happy and brings them joy is having people to serve. I doubt they even consider themselves people who don’t have much. Over the years when I’ve visited ‘poor’ villages during my travels, it is typically there that I meet some of the most generous and loving people. They are the ones who truly ‘get’ that life is about giving, sharing and serving others.
After a filling breakfast, the village woman escorted us to our car where she kindly requested we share our experience with others, and back to Pune we went.
The last two weeks I’ve been enjoying my simple routine of yoga, writing and connecting with people in the area. My dedication to yoga has provided me the opportunity to become extremely flexible very quickly. Last week I attempted a back over, something I haven’t done since I was 10, and can nearly do it—which is crazy considering touching my toes used to be ‘stretch’.
A Korean restaurant recently opened up the street from my house, and with a love for Korean food I couldn’t’ help but befriend the Korean owners. It’s nice to have options other than Indian and Domino’s pizza. I am constantly meeting up with different people (both locals and foreigners) for lunch or dinner, and enjoy sharing our perspectives and testaments of life! But what I’ve enjoyed the most are my long days of writing. I spent a good chunk of last week reading about publishers and copyright laws. Of course, the infinite number of publishing options and unanswered questions I have about the process is, at times, intimidating but everyday I remind myself it’s a new day filled with new opportunities to learn and grow, and all will come together!
Adam Cohen wrote a beautiful song called “put your bags down”. There is a line in the chorus which goes “the train is always on time”.
Sometimes we think things aren’t happening and as a result, we become frustrated. I always say you either believe things aren’t happening or they’re just not happening in YOUR time frame. So if you believe ‘the train is always on time’, then just accept that everything right now is perfect and it’s working out. Knowing the train is always on time, dissipates all my stress and worry and instead allows all of my energy to be invested in the task before me. Not worrying how it’s going to look and when it’s going to take shape because I know it will happen when it happens and when it does, it’s perfect!
Today (Monday) was a holiday. Ash and I spent our day on our computers on opposite sides of the living room doing our own projects. Silence is broken with the occasional groan; typically from me as I struggle to format things in Microsoft Word. Thank God I live with a computer guy! Ash showed me the Page Up/Page Down tab yesterday and I practically pooped my pants!
The train is always on time…You get it when you get it.
In my case, that includes ‘getting’ Microsoft Word when I get it. Sigh.