I have been on the road for a while now. Many miles on busses and trains, there has been so many conversations, so many people have come my way, go with the flow and obstacles, happiness and worries, laughs and sadness, beautiful sceneries and filth.
The other day I was thinking I hadn’t posted on my blog for a while. It felt like I didn’t have anything to share. But then I realised that since I arrived to Rishikesh my days have been filled with conversations. One afternoon someone asked me how my day had been. It had been a good day I said, I had two good meals, lots of chai stops and at least three great conversations. It had been a good day.
All these conversations have given me lots to think about, to reflect upon.
Listening is amazing. I have learned so much from listening when having conversations for the past couple of weeks. People in India are so knowledgeable. You can ask anyone anything about life and they will give you an interesting answers that definitely always adds another dimension to my life and consciousness.
My whole me is so full of all the stories I heard. The main difference between stories told by Indians and foreign travellers, and especially here in spiritual Rishikesh is that the locals carry some sort of calm, always connected to Hinduism in a way. People take their time to stop, to sit, not doing anything, drinking chai, resting, sleeping in the shade. You don’t have to make appointments with your friends, you just jury up at the chai stall and you will always find someone to have a conversation with.
Everyday in social media I read different articles about 7 ways to find happiness, 10 best ways to fulfil yourself, how to destress, life coaches giving advice on how to set up goals in life, helping you finding your purpose in life. We are constantly looking for something. Something better. Looking for constant happiness.
Indians talk to each other a lot. They truly know how to socialise and how to carry a conversation. And they do it a lot. Few topics are off limit. There is always and interesting mix of humour and seriousness in every conversation. And every conversation contains some basic Hindu wisdom.
This morning I met a young English woman I shared dorm with a few days ago and she told me about her yesterday. She stayed at the hostel most of the day, watching the boys working there doing their daily chores, listening to them talking. She told me that she had learned more yesterday that during the rest of her stay here. She called it therapeutic. She felt content, satisfied.
In the west we always measure our activities and the amount of them. It is as if the day is wasted if we actually didn’t do a lot of things. There is a huge industry, making a lot of money, offering their services to make us happy. And we are chasing happiness.
Generally people are mentally happy, my friend says. We are looking for ways of getting better life conditions, but we are generally happy.
So what is happiness I ask him, remembering the nuns at the nunnery where I stayed in Myanmar. They were constantly asking me if I was happy. Realising they didn’t mean happiness the way it is defined back home. Happy is when things are good or at least ok. It is not connected to what you have and own.
I have tried to express the happiness, telling friends how I feel when actually getting to have a hot shower. Since I’m traveling on a budget, a hot shower doesn’t alway fit within my budget. So when I have one, I can feel the joy and sensation of it for hours, even days.
If you are hungry, the food will taste better.
This morning, I was sitting in the common area talking to some of the staff. It turned out one of the young men are writing poetry. Good one actually. But he’s got his notebook back home, where his parents live. So I bought him one, gave it to him and told him to continue writing poetry. I’ve rarely seen a happier face when he received my gift, telling everyone about it, holding this notebook close to his heart.
That made me extremely happy. And I will peak today’s happiness by having a hot shower.