Delicious foods are available in the many restaurants that hide in alleyways and along the open shores of the Ganges. Rooftop cafes offer Indian dishes as well as Israeli, Italian and Chinese. Most restaurants are half empty. Most of the people are just walking.
The façade of the cliffs are crowded with cement structures of varying colours. Pink, Green, blue, yellow are not unusual colours for buildings here. They are homes, schools, restaurants, stores, and temples. There is no organization to what you might find anywhere. Everything is everywhere. And people just walk.
The stores amaze me! There are rows and rows of shops that line the narrow roads. Many are contained in large garage areas of people’s homes. One small stall after another, each one offering basically the same merchandise. I just don’t understand how people make a living. I mean…how many plastic buckets are people buying anyway? But I think my western concept of ‘living’ interferes with that understanding. Because, the fact is, there are no ‘For Sale’ signs anywhere. There are no shut down windows, and I haven’t seen any “going out of business’ sales. Merchants sit peacefully in front of their shops, open to sell. Everyone….and I mean everyone is smiling.
In Rishikesh, the food is pure (satvic). We haven’t found any place that sells meat or fish or chicken. You can’t get a glass of wine or a bottle of beer anywhere!
The only way I can explain the people is by acknowledging that they live on a different plane. They are grounded in Nature, relying on cosmic energy. It isn’t even about reliance. It is a simple, calm and satisfied observance.
Beggars sit with their palms outreached. I believe it is as much about giving as it is about receiving. Sincere smiles and a heartfelt “Namaste” are offered even when I pass without contributing. And it isn’t just some of the people. It’s most! Almost all!
The other day, Paul bought some bananas. The seller didn’t have any change. “Hold on a minute”, he said. Paul watched him approach the nearest beggar for change. Go figure!!!! Only in India!
We’re leaving Rishikesh and moving on to the far north…..the Kulu Valley.