I am in Rishikesh, India. This is a place people visit for a lot of different reasons. My reason was that my friend Gunilla spoke highly of it. It was beautiful and had a calmness. The calmness is difficult to get considering this is a place situated in India. India is everything but calm. It is crowded, polluted and extremely noisy. Every vehicle in the streets are honking, people speak in a loud way, people play music on their mobiles or music is played very loud in shops and restaurants and there are fans everywhere making noise day and night. The Indians love their fans.
Calmness is difficult to imagine anywhere in India. Unless you go to the mountains or the rural areas.
So I got to Rishikesh. It was a quite rough night and day traveling. I was tired, the hostel was marked in the wrong place on the map and a was climbing stairs up and down in the heat of the sun. Finally I found the place, checked in and went for a walk. Two minutes, that’s how long time it took me before I saw this chai stall and felt drawn to it. I ordered a chai, greeted the other guests and sat down.
2 pm and the street was crowded but I felt the calm.
I have met quite a few foreigners who’s reason for coming to Rishikesh was to find themselves, to heal, to do yoga or because of the easy access to drugs. In holy places like Rishikesh or Varanasi, alcohol is banned. One can still get it though. But the weed is consumed openly. To be fair there are a lot of Indians smoking weed here. As I said, easy accessable.
There is something special about Rishikesh. And that is the people. The ones living here or staying long term. Perhaps it is the Ganga river that does the trick. Like a magnet attracting the mix of intelligence and spiritualism. These people don’t have a goal, they are not looking for or purcuing anything. They are very much in the presence.
Without planing it, without thinking it, that is what I have been doing since I arrived to Rishikesh. Being in the present, just existing. Going to the chai stall, watching people, animals and vehicles passing by and having these conversations with complete strangers. A mix of intelligence and spiritualism. We drill each others brains, asking questions, having discussions. Existence, meaning of life, universe, religion, quantum.
We are complete strangers and still there is a connection beyond. Yesterday evening sitting by the Ganga river, one of my new friends told me how lucky he was for having the privilege of meeting this group of people. Yes, it has been a true privilege. Sometimes we get what we need, and sometimes we get what we want. This time I got both.
Before we part he asks, do you ever hear a sound, a sound that is constantly there, that never leaves you. I try to think, he tries to put words to it. When I woke up this morning i realised I have heard that sound. First time was many years ago and it scared me. Now I’m not.
The sound of universe.
/one might think that I’m stoned when writing this but I’m not. I can’t be since the only three drugs I have ever used are tobacco, alcohol and men. And right now I haven’t used any of them/