Friday, March 2, 2012

Goa, Goa, Goa

My original plan for Goa was to ONLY go for the Carnival festival.  People think that all I do is party-false I love the energy and learning experience of festivals.  Being able to see the costumes, dances, feel the music, and feel the spirit and energy of the culture and visitors is one of my favorite things. 

Being in Kerala and enjoying every moment, I began to question why I was going to Goa.  I did not want to party, be around drugs, and go to beaches. I just wanted to write and for those two days before my mind was overflowing with ideas.  My intuition told me, “Priscilla just skip it.” But then my superego came in and thought about the people, the dancing, the costumes, and photography and I decided to just stick with my original plans. 

The train ride to Goa confused me a bit in terms of the confirmations of incredible people from Kerala.  On the train, you can just happen to sit in any car and meet someone special or your fate can bring people to your meeting….

Stepping on the sleeper train(the wrong area of the train because I had a passenger ticket with no assigned seat), I sat next to a lovely group of women singing Christian music.  The woman sits down next to me a smiles kindly.  I can feel her spirit connecting to mine as she is speaking.  She says they all work together and are going to Goa for a weekend picnic.  They work in a school center for special needs children.  She is surprised to hear about my own work with the special needs population and we speak about my various goals and interests in missionary work.  I felt like an angel was sitting right in front of me..

Next stop on the bus comes a man with a young boy about seven years old.  The boy is absolutely adorable and looks like a little Moroccan boy and his father looks the same.  It turns out that he is a health and wellness consultant from Gujarat.  The little boys name is Adakrishna.  He sits at the window on his Uncle’s lap and occasionally pokes his head in the conversation to peak at me and starts to laugh.  He is absolutely adorable, but there is something special about him that I can not pinpoint exactly instead it was just felt. 

The Uncle and I talk about fate and faith and we tune into the spiritual meeting between us.  He could have sat on the next car, but he sat in my car right next to me.  We discuss the sixth sense that woman have-this thing called intuition.   He speaks of the real India and how India has been corrupted overtime.  It is pulled away from it’s roots and culture, but he tries his best to educate people on the real India and preserve the amazing culture.  He tells me about how he studied Sanskrit and he tells me the four most important people to Indians: Father, mother, guest, and teacher.  He treats me with such respect as a guest and tells me he will help me with anything I need during my journey whether it is a tissue or walking me to the bathroom-what a sweet heart. 

Not having an assigned seat, he gave me his sleeper seat and said he would sleep with Adakrishna in one bed.  The Indian railway has strict rules about not changing or switching seats.  I was thankful, but I felt bad and said a few times that I could just move up to the front of the train.  Also, the conductor knew I did not have a seat and offered his own seat to me.  Both Indian men going out of their way for me to make sure I had a seat-India=)

After all our talking, I head to the top bunk and prepare myself for sleep.  I am so happy that I can lay down and get some rest.  I decide to finally take out my eye mask and blow up my inflatable pillow, which I have not used my whole entire trip. I am usually sleeping on a bar or on my bag on top of my chords or computer. The comfort component is not always an issue as long as it is clean and peaceful. 

Saying good night to all my new friends and the lights all shut off, I was ready to go to bed.  I fell asleep into a deep sleep and then half an hour later I feel a pulling of my leg.  My fear instinct kicks in and I think that someone is attacking me so I immediately jump up and move my body back.  With no contacts in, I look down and can not see a face, but hear a loud voice telling me to, “Come down right now.”

I jump down a bit abruptly from my bunk and realize that it is the nice TTI shouting at me.  TTI turned Nazi, he tells me that he found a seat for me and I am not allowed to take over another person’s sleeper.  I kept repeating that he gave me his seat, but he brought to my attention that was not allowed.  He marches off and tells me to go to the front or he is going to bring the police to remove me-police? What?

It is 12 midnight and now there are definitely no seats in the front so I decide to stay on the sleeper thinking he will cool down and step down from his pedestal and give some sympathy to the solo female traveler. 

In the meantime, Subash is calmly talking with him and trying to calm him down.  He tells me to just go to sleep and not worry about it.  The lights shut off and I stay up on watch.  Any person coming through the door, I think it is the police and start to become scared.  After a couple hours, the police do not come and the TTI has disappeared so I end up being safe in my seat.  But I still stay up looking into the darkness and waiting for someone to come grab me and shout at me to get out of my seat.  It all ended up working out and it usually does if I could just keep the faith. 

When the morning comes, the train is ALIVE. Coffee, tea, singing, praying, card playing, poori, roti, and veg breakfast dishes.  The doors are wide open and I sit wedged in between the door with my book.  I meet some local boys and we jump out of the train at it’s long stop and walk along the railroad.  We eat chapatti and drink Chai asking one speaking Mayalaram and me having difficulty understanding. 

The train really is special and full of character and varying personalities.  A baby is cradled up with a sheet in between two sleeper seats, a woman is smiling at my conversation with the Kerala  school staff, people are laughing, singing, and smiling.  It really is a one of a kind experience.

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