Sunday, a day off
I got up early to meet up with vols Kate, Judith and Mary to go to an internet café that Kate liked. While sipping coffee and eating a really bad toasted bagel, I opened SKYPE to find that my friend Peta in Alberta was online and had sent me a message so I briefly called and spoke with her. Then I noticed that Kerry in Kenya was also online so we exchanged some typed words. Christina was online too and she called me and we spoke for a while. I turned on my web cam and angled it to show and introduce her to the ladies at the breakfast table.
I called Katie’s cell phone but she didn’t answer so I left a message from her Daddy in Delhi. Our timing hasn’t worked out for speaking to each other just yet and I miss her.
I took a auto rickshaw back to the residence to find that everyone (all the vols) had left and I was on my own. So I went out walking when I met up with Titou. He is a Sikh man and auto rickshaw driver. His English was very good and he offered to take me on a tour of Delhi. We talked about where we could go and the price and I got in and off we went to the first stop: Ghandi’s crematorium. Titou parked on the main road and let me go in alone. I was really lucky because as I got to the simple monument there were no crowds, just a couple of people. So I stayed for about five minutes and then left to pick up my shoes and socks. While there I felt a quiet mood come over me as I looked at the flame and flowers and thought about Ghandi’s life and his effect on all of us. At the entrance several bus loads of tourists were just coming down the walk. I have missed them by minutes. I was thankful for the quiet time with the great man.
Next we went to see a Jain temple in Old Delhi. Old Delhi is different from New Delhi as it is the original city that did not have any planning. Tiny twisty roads and an intensity of people, bicycle rickshaws and every other kind of vehicle were moving all together down narrow roads.
Titou parked and he took me into the white temple. Like the streets, the temple was also well attended. Titou paid our entrance fee and checked our shoes and socks in. Along the way there were various places people stopped to touch the ground, a threshold or a sacred object to receive blessings and offer respect. I took as many blessings as I could find. I felt very peaceful there. Titou explained that at this temple, all religions were welcome, and judging by the variety of different types of local dress (costume) I’d say that there was a wide array of backgrounds.
Inside the temple there was music playing, harmonium, tablas and voice. Many people were sitting on the floor while others were paying homage to the various Gurus pictured. I sat with Titou on the floor for about ten minutes just listening, people watching and feeling the calmness of the space. Pictures online soon.
March 16: Language lessons started. I wish I could say more, there’s so much to learn, especially just listening to the sounds of the words. Anu, our teacher repeats in my ear a sound she wants me to make, I respond, she says no, we continue for several tries and I just don’t get it. Maybe I will have to buy one of those hand held translators after all.