Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Dipping in the Ganges

As Amanda, Hannah and I make our way through the crowd, Jess and Delphine get bombarded by vendors and are terrible are being firm and ignoring them. Jess panics and Frenchie is hopeless. People are coming up to us and shaking our hands, showing us their children. Amanda is fantastic with all the attention, Hannah is just laughing, while Jess and Delphine look like they are about to cry, and both loving it and trying not to panic. Talk about overwhelmed, it's the definition of the word. We walk down the street and down to the ghat steps for the main bathing area. This big group of men want to take loads of pictures with us as a group, then each one individually- I am starting to get annoyed, especially since about 100 people are staring at us and Frenchie's nervous laugh can be heard on the other side of the freakin' Ganges.
I sit down on a wall by the water to get away, even though I know I am still being stared at.

Suddenly, two big Hindu women come up to me and want to take me down to the water. Uhhhhh ok? I willingly go, feeling the same excitement I did when I went surfing for the first time- the same exhiliration. I step down one step at a time, so my pants are wet around my ankles. Then they lead me down one more, and one more until I'm up to my ribs. On the count of three: ONE-TWO-THREE!!! I dunk!!!!
Nothing like the thrill of dipping in holy water and washing away all your sins. The smiles of my Hindu mommas faces is priceless. Amanda and Hannah join me and we dip again all together. I lead Jessica down the steps (she trips over half of them hehe!) and I hold on to her tight as she dunks, and comes up laughing laughing laughing. She is beaming.
The crowd we attracted is even bigger, I am about to start charging for photos!!!
Delphine, of course, is reluctant to go in, complaining about how dirty the water is
I just want to yell : EMBRACE IT!
She has to dip twice to get her hair wet.
Our Hindu mommas show us how to put your hair down and whip it back in the water- the proper way. Jess and I go in one more time, 3 times for good measure and to properly wash our hair.
I feel nearly close to tears. I am just BEAMING with energy- we all look glowing and fresh. My and Hannah's hands are shaking because we just feel so good and have such good energy pulsing through us. We each take some red powder and mark a little bindi on our foreheads. I've got the true makings of a hippie: my bangles, my mehandi hands and feet, my psychedelic pants, my yellow saffron scarf, my red bindi and cleansed by the Ganges of my sins. Ahh.

We walk back home, soaking wet but feeling just so incredibly high and elated. These obnoxious men are desperately trying to get pictures with us by grabbing our shoulders and snapping a photo. Total mood killer. We walk allll the way up home in our wet clothes, up the hill and into the mountains. At home we all shower, freshen up and spend the night talking on the porch under the heavy rain. The bugs are crawling all over us but I'm trying my best to embrace it. It is wonderful and serene, sitting out there talking, smoking, eating, listening to the rain and having deep conversation. Jess tells us about Hindu concepts in religion and tradition while looking at all the deities on my new scarf.
I bunk with Frenchie for the night, who I'm just starting to feel pity for. All she knows how to do is complain and be negative, rather than embrace experiences and culture.

Big Problem, and it's staring me in the face: my first cockroach! Yuck!
I go out on the porch and try to recruit the help of the hippies getting stoned out there, but to no avail. They just crack up at the idea of using a stick to kill it. Delphine is actually so adorable the way she deals with it cuz she has to talk herself through it as she smacks it with her shoe and screams. I sleep on the hard piece of wood they call a bed, with a sheet over my head, paranoid about bugs.

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