Christina and I have arrived in Mcleod Ganj, Safe and sound.
Now nestled in the Himalayas of Northern India.
Home of the exiled Tibetan Government and refugees.
A different flavour of India; as I walk around the streets, there is a calming effect on my body and mind. It feels familiar. Perhaps because I grew up in the Rocky Mountain Foothills of Alberta, Canada, my brain has gently connected these two places to dissolve a muted panic that I am 10,182 km from home, while still having the exotic Indian flare of lively Hindu shop keepers and local tourists to keep my senses engaged.
The main street is etched with shops, cafes, bookstores and restaurants equally dispersed between Hindu and Tibetan owners. I find the size of Mcleodganj deceitful. During day, the town may be bustling and busy with tourists and hustlers, but the core of the town is stretched along 3 roads. When the night darkens, lights from local homes illuminate the hills beyond imagine.
The sensation I am having a hard time “sitting with” is being in this location where it feels familiar, safe, comfortable. Perhaps because my mind is not in analytical overdrive trying to emerge myself into this new culture, I am now forced to “sit with my myself” – ie there are no distractions from the rummages of my mind. I’m not sure if it is sadness or displacement I feel within my own identity, but I have to take this as a golden nugget of opportunity. Lucky/unlucky for me, there much to learn and little distractions.
Although travel time was only 12 hours via bus (with scheduled stops included), the climate has shifted from Indian summer extremes of 40-45 degrees celsus in the daytime to now a refreshing 20-35 degrees. I even feel a sense of worry as I prepare for a nightfall temperature of 8 degrees, fueling the urge to purchase thick wool socks and blankets from the Tibetan stores. Wait and see, I decide.
From my bedside window ledge, I place a small postcard I purchased from a shopkeeper of his holiness, the Dali Lama. The meditation on dying resonates deep within; losing my dad at age 12, I have experienced the reminder that life may be taken away at any moment, yet here I am running away to India to get away from myself, my “life”.
“Meditation on Dying.
It is true to say that most of us dislike thinking about our own death. We spend most of our lives amassing possessions or embarking on an endless number of projects as though we were going to live forever, as though it was not absolutely certain that one day – tomorrow perhaps, or even in the next moment – we will leave everything behind.” – His Holiness the xiv Dalai Lama