I was getting used to this. Waking up lazily to the pitter patter of rain and that knock at the door at 7.30 am with hot Adrak Chai. I loved it, absolutely loved it.
I had a midnight train back to Delhi, almost early morning -12.50 am and I had to check out by 12 noon. So I went to the reception at breakfast time and requested the manager if he could extend it at least till 3 pm, later I could figure out what to do.
When he came to know my train was that late, he said he would charge me an extra nominal amount so I could check out at 10 pm. It was a relief.
I got down for breakfast which by the way I must mention here, the food is simple and delicious. I was ready to order when the regular guy who serves me breakfast suggested something else. It was the Garhwal breakfast.
It had Gahat ka Paratha where they stuff some special Dal served with different kinds of curries and condiments. Local Garhwal food.
Usually one had to book it in advance a day before and the minimum pax would be 4 people. A family had booked that yesterday so they were making quite a bit so did I want to eat that?
It was delicious and awesome as I digged into a solid breakfast. Now I had a whole day and evening to go. As I was walking back to the room, I saw the monkeys in the property, prancing around and generally not disturbing anyone.
I knew what I wanted to do. Spend my day at the Beatles Ashram. And it was not just about the Beatles anymore, granted them being there before was a big thing and I had my fan moment last time but the surroundings itself was magnetic.
That pull was there, it was special, extraordinary and so tranquil, away from the noise and buzz of the town.
It was raining and it would be perfect to sit there and as it is not many knew of the place and with the rain I hoped there won’t be those few either.
I got out in the rains and walked. It was beautiful, the landscape had such myriad colours. The green mountains partially covered with fog, Ganga Ma showing her moods in the monsoon, the happy voices of rafters drifting as I saw them from Ram Jhula. I stood by the bridge and saw the astounding scenery around.
I stopped for hot filter coffee at the Madras Cafe. This kind of weather gets the coffee lover out in me. I walked towards the ashram and on the way browsed at book shops, Got one on Ma Anandamayee and finally reached my destination.
The entrance itself filled my heart with joy. I thanked God that I was visiting it again so soon after April. I had promised myself the last time I would sit in one of those caves and be in silence and my wish got fulfilled.
I knew the paths by now and again that same feeling creeped up, I have been here before in a past life, the place does that to you. You have walked these paths, a different time, as a different being, the feeling that is more than just a Deja Vu.
There was absolutely no one, I could hear the trees swishing because of the monkeys moving around, the sounds of birds and silence.
Initially that silence scares you as you look around but you slowly realize it’s your own self, it’s your own silence as you are not used to this.
You have been away from nature, from your true self for such a long time that THIS begins to look unreal, but this is real, more real than ever.
I sat in one of those caves and honestly I didn’t know if it was ok to sit there or not yet I did and I could feel that strong energy, really strong.
I was sweating, it was not at all hot out there, it was raining and it had pleasant weather so what was this? The fear? the energy? or just me?
Slowly I got into my rhythm, the silence and I calmed down. I closed my eyes and I could feel the silence within and I stayed with it.
All that judgement of a cult, the judgement of a Guru who created this, the hype of Beatles staying here melted away. It was just this, a beautiful space, a silence that holds it together.
When I slowly opened my eyes after some time I lied down and I could feel myself with a whole new energy. I really can’t express how I felt. It was beyond description. It was letting go of so many things inside me.
After some time I got out of the cave and looked around, there was still no one.
I slowly walked towards the main hall with the murals of the Beatles on one side and the Gurus on the other and sat there. There was water seepage in the walls, on the floor and the rain outside, it made it even more beautiful.
Last time I couldn’t do it but this time I had to, so I pulled out my phone and played the tracks of my favorite Beatles songs.. Just softly as I looked around. I mean imagine just sitting there and playing those songs..
Norwegian Wood, Here comes the Sun, Penny Lane, Let it Be, In my Life. Hey Jude, A day in the Life (a mind blowing genius of a song).. John’s Woman, Beautiful Boy, Imagine.. It was my Ode to the Greatest Band that ever was..
I remembered my favorite author Haruki Murakami and his love for the Beatles and one of his books was titled Norwegian Wood and that was the first book of his I read years ago and got hooked to his works since then. I was welling up with all this..
I made a pillow with the daypack ,lied down and started reading the book I bought. I have no idea how time went by. . Each and every moment was savored, relished it was perfect.. When was the last time I felt the aloneness of it..
And then Murphy’s Law happens.. I heard loud and I mean loud voices walking towards the hall. An Indian family at that 🙂 Seeing me lying down they stopped warily.
I waved at them.Then smiles broke out and yup it was back to them talking, selfies and all that. No, I didn’t mind nor I scoffed, it had to happen anyways and I was truly lucky to spend time like this for hours alone. It was time to go..
As I walked towards the entrance, I made another promise reiterating myself, every time am in Rishikesh, I will be here.
I stopped at the Chai joint at a corner and decided to eat lunch at the Main Market. I remembered Rajasthani Bhojanalay. I took a shared auto with a family – all women. I remember one attractive woman in it – striking eyes and a stunning smile. really stunning.
I walked in and got myself a seat. The place was pretty crowded as always and the rain outside was pounding now. It’s all about sharing tables there.
As I ate hot paratha with Bhindi Masala with that delicious Kesar Lassi, we heard a loud and I mean loud sound of a transformer bursting, all lights went out and a sudden panic among the customers.
Most of them got outside to check while me and a young couple on the opposite stay put and we smiled at each other at the curiosity out there.
By the time I got out it was almost 6 pm and I decided to go towards Ram Jhula. This time instead of Parmarth Ashram I went to the open Ghat Steps where there were no pujas but devotees sitting by. This was bliss… Sitting there gazing at her, I could do this forever..
It was an exhilarating week and what seemed like months.. I was lucky to be here again.. Lucky to be alive and having experienced a roller coaster ride..
Just a month ago when I was chatting with a friend and he was talking about his solo trek he would do next year I remember messaging him that I didn’t have the confidence to go solo, maybe I would attempt it next year and now it happened without any plan..
It felt like Kedarnath said Oh! let me change that for you. And he did.
Getting into that train bound to Delhi and then a flight to Hyderabad, throughout that journey I felt content and this time it didn’t feel heavy, the heart didn’t feel that lost like before.
I knew it in my bones, flesh, blood, heart, mind and soul I was carrying the mountains in me and it will be like that no matter where I go in this journey of life.