Monday, 10 October 2011

Freewheelin’ in India - Day 11: The Dalai Lama makes the Moon appear

We awoke at 8.30am and excitedly climbed the mountain towards the temple. We were going to see our favourite little monk mate, The Dalai Lama. Now, I’ve seen some amazing artists in my time, Bob Dylan, Prince, The Doors (minus Jim obviously), but the Dalai Lama is on the next level. You can’t really get much better than that, unless Jesus Christ himself does a ‘Walking on Water: Live’ tour and I manage to score a ticket on eBay.

We worked our way through the security checks which didn’t allow phones, cameras or cigarettes (I was prepared this time) and saw our homeboy nearby where we sat amongst the monks, just before he made his way up to his speaking seat. We had radios to tune into the English translation, but became increasingly annoyed at the bad reception, and constant cutting out, catching only snippets of what was said. I thought Buddhism was meant to make you feel calm and peaceful, but the first two hour session had left me feeling more frustrated than ever before, like being on a date where you’ve moved the Earth for the one you’re trying to woo, and all they move is your wandering hands away from them. I felt like I’d been fucked, and there was no sign of an orgasm, not even a twinge. I saw the same American guy from the day before, and we stopped to ask him if his radio translation was working ok. He explained that it cuts out when his holiness speaks, then back in when he stops and that you have to just stick with the frequency throughout. That made more sense of the previously unexplained situation, and our lunch a little easier to swallow.

I found a few shops selling my beloved embroidered tunics, and treated myself to a salmon coloured Kashmir number featuring flamboyant pink stitching and a white one with black embroidery, along with a number of unique gifts for my loved ones back home, and a ring for Sarah that she took a shining to. I told her she would get it at some point later, and we made our way back to the Temple in time for the second daily teaching. This time it was much more enjoyable, and I learned a lot of his philosophies, which I didn’t think were too far at all from my own, even though I’d never previously studied Buddhism, only life itself.
Feeling fresher we found our way to a travel agent in order to arrange our next journey, this time to enjoy some select cities in Rajasthan. We were told to our dismay that there were no trains, and we’d have to again endure that bus ride back to Delhi, before catching a five hour train to Jaipur. Whilst waiting for our booking to be completed we chatted with an Irish girl about India, and plans for returning home. She seemed unenthused by Ireland, and I gave her my usual ‘YOU MUST MOVE TO LONDON’ spiel. I fucking love the freedom of individuality that my hometown offers, despite the minor boundaries by the odd simple-minded scared soul, or idiotic government measures, it is still in my opinion the best city to live in. She recommended an oriental joint called ‘Common Ground’ for dinner, so we went there and feasted on some fresh and tasty dishes, which cost next to nothing. By far the best meal I’d had since landing in this beautiful, dirty mess of a country.
Darkness had consumed the mountain roads by the time we’d finished, and as we walked back to the main road I looked up, finally seeing the Moon for the first time in eleven days. We stopped and gazed at the small slither on show, smiling, and I produced Sarah’s ring, placing it on her little finger, and explaining that the light stone was in fact a Moon stone, sent from space just for her.
My back is always knotted, lumpier than the rock-faces around us, which I think is due to me always carrying the weight of the World, like Atlas, withdrawing the woes from others souls and accumulating them all, to bear alone, then dispel. When I saw the offer of a full body massage for £6.66 I couldn’t say no, I can never afford that kind of therapy in England and could often do with it. The trials of being tall, is that everything’s too small.

My lady in waiting offered to wait, so I walked with her to an internet café, gave her my bag and everything except 500 rupees, and said I’d meet her there in an hour. The massage rooms were full, so I was taken by the young guy on reception, named Sonu, for a five minute walk to where a nearby room was vacant. We arrived and I asked where the masseuse was, he told me he’d be doing it for me, and that you don’t get women doing men in India. No chance of a happy ending then.

I stripped to my black boxers and stretched across the table as he cracked me into place, and eased the tension in my load bearing back as we spoke about lovers and life. In my usual way of somehow inspiring strangers to open up to me, he told me the kind of things you’d only discuss with your closest companions, how he’d fallen for an English girl but it couldn’t be, how he became depressed following the unexpected death of a close girl-friend and was finding his way back to happiness, and all about the intricacies of sexual exploits amongst the youth in India. I thought it was rare for Indian girls to put out before marriage, but apparently they get the odd live-wire that isn’t too bound by religious beatings to enjoy a bit of the old in-out, in-out.

I told him how much I loved India, but how a few things bother me, like the disgusting degradation of women by a large number of perverted troglodytes, and how public affection between lovers is frowned upon. I said in my world it is unthinkable to ever question somebodies desire to wear a burkha, a short skirt or spiderman pajamas, and that I believe every individual should have the freedom to do as they please, as long as it is not immoral and doesn’t harm anyone else. If I want to hold my girlfriends hand, display my love with a cuddle or kiss, and show my appreciation for her majesty, then I will be damned if someone thinks they have the right to stop me. He said he agreed, but that sometimes it may frustrate the locals if they aren’t getting any. If they aren’t, it’s a crying shame, but I’m doing my best to get enough for everybody. Asking if he enjoyed his job massaging people, saying it must offer a lot of new people to talk to, he replied saying that he didn’t really love it, and ‘the people aren’t usually as nice to talk to as you’. Sonu explained that he didn’t have many friends he could open up to, as all guys over there are busy working and living their own lives, so I offered my services in future, giving him my contact details and assuring him that it is my job, and pleasure in life.
We walked together back to the cafe where I’d left my lover, but the shutters were down and it was closed. I rushed back to his reception, expecting her to be seated, but no sign. This worried me as it is unlike Sarah to stray from a set plan and leave me uninformed. I couldn’t even call her as she had my phone, and money. There was a big group of men all chatting around the counter, and Sonu asked if my girlfriend had been in looking for me, but they all shook their heads in synchronicity. I didn’t like this at all, bad visions entering my warped mind at warp speed, wondering where she could be. Sonu told me to return if I couldn’t find her, and I ran all the way back toward the temple, looking in every shop and café as my worries grew. ‘Where could she be?‘ I constantly asked myself, now sprinting, until a jolt from a hole in the half built, dark path down the mountain forced me to slow to a quick walking speed so I didn’t slip again. I reached the bottom, hoping I’d gone the right way, and saw the light of our hotel. I ran again, towards the building and up four flights of stairs, meeting our door with a bang. Sarah opened and I looked at her, speechless, out of breath, and massively relieved that she was ok. I asked her in disbelief how she could’ve left me clueless, and she explained that she’d left me a love-letter, and how the stupid employee had clearly failed to deliver. We embraced as I dropped to the bed about ready to have a heart-attack, our ensuing actions hardly helping.
A while later Sarah informed me that she’d rolled a joint with our remaining opium, so we sparked it up, but it was hard to smoke, and provided another uninspiring hit. She lay in my arms as we inhaled our usual a weed, and watched ‘Pineapple Express’ before ending another epic day.

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