What I love about staying in a village is getting to know the locals. I wake up and walk down the street saying, “Good morning to the kids, family, the local shop owners.” I wake up to hearing roosters and hearing Nisha singing in her adorable voice.(But I also wake up to street dogs barking and this is not adorable. Staying in a city for at least 4 days is essential for me. One does not truly get to know a city within a day or two. It is just not enough time.
Today, I decide to take a shower in the lake as I want to “do like the locals.” I thought that Mr. Taliwood and I would go swimming during the daytime-as discussed. When I went to ask him, he said he is busy and can’t go. This is so typical in my life, the guy does not get what he wants so he acts busy and aloof. I just go back to my guesthouse and take a shower with my one bucket of water and measuring cup ha!
I decide I want to head to see the temples and have a nice day to myself. Going to the other side would mean I have to cross the lake and crossing the lake means taking the mafia boat, which means paying 20 rupees. I decide that I am going to be adventurous and go climb the rocks to find a way to cross this river without taking the boat.
I climb over a few large rocks and up further I see a crossing with a few rocks connected. I think I am very smart that I found this crossing and I am proud of myself for not just being a tourist who gets ripped off and sticking to the principles of the matter.
There are basically two small river crossings. The first one I barely make it across as the river water is moving quickly and there is a layered green moss on top of the rocks, which is almost impossible not to slip. I make it to the second crossing and it has a slight incline. The incline is covered in green moss and I decide to check and see just how slippery this moss is. I place my barefoot down with my cotton bag on my right arm and gym shoes in my left hand. Within two seconds, I fall right down into the water with my gym shoes almost swimming away with the current and my COTTON bag sitting in the water. I struggle to get up because I just keep slipping. I finally reach the dry land and throw my bag down and quickly open it up to take out my LAPTOP.
My laptop is in a cotton case as well so I am preparing myself for it to be completely dead and gone. The keyboard is wet and the back is wet, but somehow it turns on. Internally, it has a bunch of water in the screen and it is working for now-at the moment. I just lay out all my stuff to dry on the rock and sit shaking my head. Why would I attempt to go crossing water with my computer in my bag? I question my decision, my lack of common sense, but take responsibility for my decision. If my computer is gone, it is all my fault and I have noone to blame, but myself. I have been preparing myself for something to happen to my computer-making sure to back up all my pictures and documents because all good things usually come to an end. My computer makes me so happy, but I know electronic materialistic things are taken out of my possession. A 20 rupee boat ride may have just caused me $300-nice one Priscilla.
I ended up going back to the boat and paying the 20 rupees and rented a bike to go around and explore the temples. Vipasa temple, Krisha temples, hanuman temple, big temple, the streams, sunsets, the pooja, the amazing spinach, coriander, ginger rice cakes. My favorite part was going back to my guesthouse to spend time with my family. My friend from the restaurant said I could crash at a room there, but I had to go back to see my family. I knew they would be up waiting for me. As expected, I arrive back and Mama is sitting and waiting for me with her glowing eyes. We sit and stare at one another holding hands and touching arms, we just adore one another. She is so sweet yet so strong-like many Indian women-amazing resilience yet kind and humble-another post. Shankar says he was waiting up for me to talk about his secret.
Shankar’s secret-a secret he has never told anyone-not even his wife and mother. That is what makes my being-people who confide in me, seek advice, and want to share their passions, interests, tragedies, regrets, sorrows, hopes, dreams, etc. Shankar used work in the rice fields and saved up enough money to open his own guest house. When he speaks about his work, he is so proud and I am so proud of how far he has come.
Unfortunately sitting with Shankar and his mom, I have to tell them the bad news that I am leaving tomorrow for Mumbai. Mama can not get over me leaving. She just sits and shakes her head and makes slight sounds of disappointment. We just sit and gaze at one another wondering why we have to part. I joke that I can be a dodma-someone who heards the goats and we can just eat, watch movies, and I can help Mama sew their traditional clothing to sell to tourists-a simple life, but an authentic one. Oh how I adore this family. I start walking toward my room and stop to look at the ground beneath me to see Nisha, her mom, Agi, and her daughter all laying on a bamboo mat on the dirt ground under the tree. The baby is in a sheet tied to the tree. I just stare at them and think about how beautiful they are. The foreigners are sleeping in rooms and beds with fans while they just sleep on the ground without blankets on dirt with dogs coming in from the street at any moment. This is India.