Holidays, Holi Days, Sad Farewells: #Rishikesh #Delhi #India

Holi Days in Delhi

Holi Days in Delhi

India is a mother, a matrix, mysterious and meandering, wise beyond her kitchen, beautiful despite her years, charming the pants off conquerors and traders and holy men and saints, opening doors only to close them behind you, stooping to fawn and pander with multiple options for ongoing investment, financial packaging and advantageous positions in the futures market…

India is a monster, cruel and conniving, filthy and chaotic, devious and diabolic, two-faced and teeming with too many people, a misplaced anger and aggression mutated into a caste system for the classists and classes, a hierarchy for racists, upward mobility for the wealthy, and a religion guaranteed to keep it that way, laws for the lawless, feuds for the feudal, but no food for the hungry…

The truth lies somewhere in between, of course, India defined by the resolution of her opposites, her non-attachment to outcomes, her negligence of incomes, her preference to survive rather than thrive, her attachment to a certain past rather than an uncertain future, her inattention to details while concentrating on big pictures, closed doors and closed windows, warm in here, but a bit stuffy, too…

Holi in Delhi

Holi in Delhi

Spring in India comes with a nod and a wink and an invitation to drink, a holiday called Holi day, a celebration of colors and indulgence in opposites, a day of rest for Big People and a day of party for Jungsters exploring the subconscious, the subliminal, anything but the subway system in Delhi, closed until 2 p.m, partiers intoxicated in broad daylight, released from the confines of dark rooms dark encounters and the dark people from down south…

It’s no big deal, really, more like Halloween with a condom, a few kids cut loose with crayon-like cannons and a few water pistols, terrorizing the street in the wee hours of dawn, while the food vendors dodge powders and the sleeping dogs yawn, India waking up slowly on even a good day, Holi providing a further rain check and incentive to sleep in, put off until tomorrow what you weren’t likely to do today anyway, but at least now there’s a justification for it…

You can visit Rishikesh on a day trip from Delhi if you’ve got the balls and the alarm clock, six connections in sixteen hours, catch the 0700 tourist train, villagers need not apply, blurry pictures outside the window complete with breakfast, pollution rising with the elevation, neat trick of cities to send the smog upstream, caught a local bus from the rail-head at Haridwar with no problem walked right to it as if I’d done it a thousand times, didn’t have to waste ten minutes in transit…

Rishikesh, India on the Ganges

Rishikesh, India on the Ganges

Haridwar is for pilgrims but Rishikesh even more so, the Ganges in all its glory for ritual purification, or maybe just for crossing to the other side, something pilgrims specialize at, reducing life’s big issues to symbolism and superstition, crossing t’s and dotting i’s with correct keystrokes and all due diligence, if you can purify India with a few wafts of incense and a few whiffs of ganja, then why not do so, certainly saves on the research and development costs….

The Beatles are all gone now, and the Rolling Stones, too, but a few hangers-on are still hanging on, a few Beach Boys sunning on southern beaches, junkies in Delhi twirling their noodles with expert strokes of the fork and not much else, budget-oriented backpackers on gap year holiday, fat-bellied ex-pats with Hawaiian shirts and no place better to go, a few souls seeking spirituality, and the odd intellectual trying to figure it all out, somehow all making sense some way…

Broad daylight in Delhi

Broad daylight in Delhi

Good-bye, mother and monster, not until much later will I see you.  Good-bye, motorbike maniacs and tuk-tuk tormenters, gunning it at me just to see me run.   Good-bye, chaiwallahs and coffeewallahs, you and your teas and coffee that are somehow always white not black.   Good-bye, sacred cows and dirty rats, your sacredness and filth neither clearly defined nor comprehensible.  Good-bye starers gawkers and sleepwalkers, somehow you’ll get somewhere some day.  And most of all, good-bye, holy men and beggars, the only difference between you one of rewards and expectations. 

Most of all, India is a mirror; if you look hard enough, you’ll see something of yourself in all the chaos and disorder, a Rorshach test of the soul, a road map of your own…

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