Thursday, February 26, 2009

Aloo Baba

I awoke a bit late this morning so I neglected my morning walk up to the Savatri temple this morning. By 10 am it's almost 25 degrees, so I gotta get up at half six and be on my way by 7 am. I made my way down to this delicious cafe called the Honeydew Cafe and had a gorgeous muesli curd and fruit salad. I met a really lovely women from Germany and enjoyed a conversation with her while having my breakfast. At 11:30 am I headed off to the cafe to meet up with Sunny and go with him to the desert Shiva temple. The other guy never showed up, so me and Sunny went off on his motorbike. It was so nice being on a bike catching some fresh air as it is so hot and dusty in Pushkar and being on an open road felt very nice. We stopped in at a local animal hospital that is founded by a vet in the UK. I was given a tour of the facility and met really lovely Indian people who are working very hard tosave the lives of injured and abused dogs, as well as cows. The cows are really sick here in India...once they stop producing milk the owners just let them go free. They munch on anything they can get their mouths on, which is mostly plastic garbage, and they plastic gets stuck in their intestines and basically strangulates them to death. The hospital picks them up, operates on them, and then feeds them till they are healthy again. The sad thing though is that the cows just go back on the street and it all happens not really a solution. I really want to volunteer here when I come back next year, so I picked up the info and told the staff that I would be back! Sunny then took me to see Aloo Baba at the first Shiva temple - he's named as such as he LOVES potatoes! We had a quick chai with him before we set off into the desert to see the other Baby about 20 minutes away. We took the river way and came across a huge clan of peacocks resting in the sun. They flew away when we came across them. They are such regal birds, and seeing them against the barren drabness of the desert only illuminates their beauty. We finally came to the Shiva temple in the desert, which has been standing there for over 2000 years and is declared a Ragasthani protected site. We sat in the temple with a Shiva lingam and had a 10 minute meditation before retiring to the massive banyan tree to escape the heat. Sunny and I stopped in to see the Baba in his little house, he was resting with a sadhu and was surrounded by puppies. Three cows stood peacefully behind him, observing his every move. We sat with the Baba and the sadhu and I watched as they all pulled on a freshly packed chillum (which I didn't engage bhang for me please!!). Baba and I had a small conversation and then I played with all the puppies...31 to be exact. Baba will never be lonely in the desert!! Sunny and I headed back to the first temple to see Aloo Baba as we had promised to play a game with him. When we made it there, the gypsy women were there taking a break from the washing and relaxing in the temple. Their children played in the dust, and once they saw me got very shy. The ladies made me a cup of spicy chai and I saw with Aloo Baba. The children slowly gotover their shyness and came to sit around me, observing my differences. I gave them all Ganesha stickers and that was it...I was totally accepted. They climbed in my lap and fought over who was going to sit next to me. Baba pulled out some shells and we all started to play a game that was painted on his floor...I wasn't really sure how to play as the rules kept changing, but it was really fun. I got my Hindi numbers (1 - 6) down pat and enjoyed yelling my roll to the amusement of the kids. Finally we had to go, and I promised Babaji that I would be back before I left. Such sweet children.
Sunny dropped me back off at my hotel and I wandered across the street to eat at this tiny lady's food stall. She whipped me up some smoking hot parathas and dahl and I washed it all down with 2 cups of sweet chai. I worry about the state of my teeth...I'm drink waaay too much hot syrupy chai!
Sitting here at an internet cafe watching camels loaf on by, it's truly a surreal sight. I came across a huge clan of monkeys eating the left over vegetables from the market all sitting on a roof together. India is such a surreal country, you never know what awaits you on every corner you turn.
And with that namaste.

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