Suddenly it’s Sunday May 12th, 9.30pm
Travelling is a way of escaping from one’s rut. New people and new experiences lead to a new awareness, not only of those people and their cultures, but also and inevitably of oneself.
I’m glad to be travelling now. Before, in 71/2, I went to find myself and subsequently lived a life based largely on those precepts and concepts thus gained through discovery. The present journey is possibly more self-indulgent. I have adequate finance, some specific sights to see and trails to trek.
I am not seeking a new path in life; I recognise that I’m well down the road, so now each new experience becomes a milestone rather than a signpost. I hope I have the tolerance, humour and good sense to overcome, or bypass, each seeming hurdle that I come to. My journey, therefore, is that of a passenger enjoying and understanding, albeit cursorily, the passing landscape.
That it is three days since I last recorded my chronicle I find surprising. An indication, perhaps, that the culture shock is no longer shocking.
That has been ameliorated through the discovery of the travellers’ watering holes. An encounter in the street with Christian, a German, has led to a badly sprained ankle, to Gurdwara Sis Ganj, a Sikh temple, which was well and interestingly guided, the largest mosque in India, Jami Masjid and a prolonged visit to the Red Fort .
Yesterday, in the cubby hole where I was having my morning porridge, sat Piero, an Italian last met in Brixton! (Note: That was where I last lived in London.) He had just arrived from Nepal and was on his way out of India, and offered me a smoke of his Nepalese.
Later, I headed for the railway station because tomorrow there’s a train to Jammu in Kashmir, followed the next day with a bus to Srinigar and some time later, after a relaxing ‘holiday’ on a houseboat on Dal Lake, onward to Ladakh and a possible trek of some 300kms through the Zanskar Valley to Manali in Himalch Pradesh.
I was dreaming of this, thank you Piero, when I stepped off a platform at the New Delhi bus station and badly sprained my left ankle. Thankfully, the doctor told me that it wasn’t broken, but it is now tightly wrapped and I have a walking stick.
One step at a time.
Delhi has been, is, exhilarating. Without presuming, as I know that India is many countries with their cultures and religions, being confronted with the massed energies of the city has, I hope, equipped me with simple benchmarks for the months ahead.
And London is only a week past!