Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What the Sadhu Says Goes....

On the train from Bikaner to Chandigargh, we first  rushed on the train like cattle, I was pushed all over, but forced my body up and through the sleeper.  I was surprised with my ability to get up to the top so quickly with my backpack and carry on, but I made it up.  When you get a seat on train, it always produces a huge sigh of relief otherwise you are stuck on the floor or sitting on the corner of seat, which is always comfortable ha!
And for some more general information, general seating tickets are only for the first three trains of the car, which are first come first serve.  Even though, I am not first come first serve, I always get a seat because of the Indian hospitality, which treats guest before themselves.  Sometimes I sit on the floor outside the train door, which is my favorite, but that is by my choice.  

Without the help of an Indian, I scouted out my own seat and I was proud.  I was sitting at the top contently and then next to me comes one of the worst smells I have smelled coming from a single person in India.  It smelled like rotten eggs mixed with a baby’s diaper.  One can only imagine my facial expression with complete disgust.  I was not going to hold it back rather I was going to show that person that this smell was completely unacceptable.  I have trained myself to plug my nose on the train, but this smell was at a whole new level-really.  I look down at my friend(who wears a red snow cap, a brown sweater, and mittens-adorable).  He starts laughing because he can read my face and smell what is going on.  I leave my backpack there and start the hunt for seat #2.

The outlook is grim because the aisles are packed and the area by the bathroom is even worse with people almost falling off the train. A man gets up and gives me his seat, which is next to the SADHU.  I know he is a Sadhu from speaking with a local who said he is stationed up North near the Himalayas.  I have had a handful of interactions with Sadhus and this was another special one.  I just sit quietly and am quite captivated by his presence.  He does not smile, but he just looks deep in the eyes as if he is reading my soul.  He was at the top sleeper bunk sitting Indian style with a shiny silver pot.  I know he is a Sadhu from speaking with a local who said he is stationed up North near the Himalayas.  He looked so proud and happy with this new pot and was displaying it to his friends on the train. I am assuming this was something for religious purposes to use at temple. (I should refer back to my vocabulary, but I am not).

In my seat, I am jamming out to my IPOD and content with my seat even though it really is coming time for a sleeper to lay down. The sadu then starts shouting in Hindi at the two men next to him(usually 3-5 people sitting on one sleeper) to get up. The sadu pushes them up hurriedly and they jump off the the seat across.  He points for me to come up to the top and I give him thanks with my alms.  The sadu takes my seat and sits with another man and the sleeper across sits four men, while I have my own sleeper.  India truly values respecting the tourists. 

The sadu was very intimidating towards myself and others around him.  He argues with some of the other local guys, but while he is shouting people are laughing.  He really is quite comical and I really wish I could understand what he was ranting about constantly.  He shuffles through his nike bag and pulls out his cigarettes. (This is common for Sadus and babas to smoke and engage in other substance use).  He just keeps talking and it is clear that others are captivated by his presence.  I sit in my sleeper quietly and just look down at him with admiration and gratitude for giving up his seat. 

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