Finals Days in India
In the previous chapter, I was in Rishikesh for the Kumbh Mela and yoga studies. The plan was to stay there and spend the last week in Bangalore and Mysore to see friends. I believe there was much “germs” in the air in Rishikesh. For about four days, I did not sleep well during the night because there was no power. I can not open the door while sleeping because of monkeys and the window ventilation was not adequate. Every time power goes out, I wake up and stay awake. I made up the sleep during the day but then ghee! What am I doing here? I decided to bail out early. I finished my studies. Bangalore here I come.
I spent two days in Bangalore and one day in Mysore. I am leaving India early and spend my last week in Sri Lanka instead. How about that? Every thing is possible.
Mysore is a good place to put that exclamation and punctuate the journey with some pampering of my feet. Pedicure is a must! And, oh, don’t forget the coconut and sweet bananas.
I went to see friends in Bangalore and Sashi and Gopal went with me to Mysore. Lucky me as they drove so I didn’t have to take the train. I just pitched in for petro and rode in a comfortable brand new car.
While in Mysore, it is very noticeable the many changes this place has undertaken. When I was here in 2006, Gokulam and Main Road looked like there were more foreigners than locals. Business was thriving for everybody. Now, this place is deserted. The main Ashtanga shala (I heard) is conducting teacher’s training and closes for a holiday thereafter. It has a domino effect that circumnavigate to the entire community. Additionally, I heard from the locals that the police were also cracking down on the number of tourists coming because of the terrorist incidents.
It is sad indeed when the honest and innocent bystanders are effected by “reactive” changes from a few’s sins. When the few bad people commit crimes, laws or changes are inevitable that affect everyone.
My outbound flight is through Mumbai. Why Mumbai? I originally planned to set foot in Goa and Pune. That did not pan out but I am not bitter about it. It is hot here and it would have not been a happy and relaxing journey.
I was sitting and waiting at the Chhaprati Shivaji Airport in Mumbai near the counter for the Emirates Airlines. I couldn’t help but notice the many bodies of Muslim Indian women who wore the different types of Muslims costumes. There are four types of muslim veils, the hijab; the veil with the neck covered, the tchador; a basic veil perhaps the least covered of all, the burqa, face covered with only the eyes showing and the niqab; full covered. There was one woman wearing the niqab with the entire head covered in black. I am almost certain she can not see where she is going because her husband was holding her and guiding her.
Putting aside any comments about religion, my curiosity here lies on “How do they pass security checks” matching their faces with their passports? Additionally, here I am half covered and I am profusely sweating. How can they wear something black in the middle of the heat and breathe? I have many other very puzzling thoughts and curiosities but I need to move on for now.
Home must be near for I begin to notice the little things that annoy me. I am familiar with all the many annoying things that Indians do that I ignore. Every time I leave India, I begin to notice my impatience because of these nuances.
This is the final chapter. It is time to pack and move. I spent my last footprints in Mumbai where I flew out to Singapore. From Singapore, Sri Lanka is next. Why not Bangalore then Colombo? The flight and fare are probably much less. Generally, that is true. In my case, I had booked my way out of India from Mumbai, via Singapore then to San Francisco. It is costly to change that. Now I have to choose this long, convoluted route.
Good bye India. Perhaps the next time I will set foot here will be October 2011 where I will be coordinating a guided tour to 30 tourists. We’ll see what happens next.
Sri Lanka here I come.