Looking back at the days without internet in Punjab

One day I heard that there would be no school that day. First I didn’t really know what it is all about. Another school holiday, just as usual, at least once a week. Then I learnt that it is about the public demonstration around the court case of a spiritual leader, accused of sexual harassment.

The next news was that there would be no internet service for a while to make it more difficult for the followers participating in the demonstration to communicate with each other. And public transportation would be also suspended.  We ended up in 5 days without internet and there were some days when we were not even allowed to go the the street. These days the shops were closed too, just as the sabji mandi (vegetable market). 200 km from us 100,000 people were on the streets, out of which cc 30 died.

And what did these events bring into may life?

First of all, India showed me again that adapting to always changing conditions is at least as important as planning. What else?

When I first heard that the internet service and the public transportation would be suspended for a few days, my whole body was taken by tension. Depending on the decision of the court, I may get stuck without almost any connection to the outer world in the house, where it was getting more and more difficult to find my harmony. While getting overwhelmed with tension, I tried to think it over what are the things I need to do before the network is gone.  I published a few posts, and sent my phone number to a few persons. Trusting that someone wants to contact me at the weekend.

And then I noticed that the sunset is coming. I went to the rooftop with the little girl of the family but she quickly get bored so I was left there alone. Hoolahoop, some yoga, some sitting in silence. And it was the point when I started to feel that maybe it is good that there would be no internet service. The new conditions hold new opportunities. Other ways, other qualities to spend time. I just put it into words a few days before that I didn’t like to find myself using internet without control, losing awareness. Thanks to the Universe I didn’t even have the chance for this for a while. I also didn’t like that I had kind of lost the balance between my private space and the family life by this time. I received a new opportunity in this field too.  And of course another opportunity to practice acceptance.

The lack of internet helped me to find that desired balance between privacy and family life. I found so much joy in playing with the kids. We were playing hide-and-seek, climbing on the roof top, practicing yoga, hoola hoop, and sometimes I was just like a living playground for the little girl, who could easily climb up on my legs to reach as high as my back. Actually both of the kids are amazing climbers and they even helped me to get over some of my fears, when balancing on the top of a thin wall on the rooftop. Yeah, these Punjabi rooftops are like in the Aladdin story, you can just jump from one rooftop to another, like flying all over the town. Love it 🙂

It happened also these days that I discovered how beautiful view we can have to the night sky, while I had a phone call on the rooftop with a friend and then stayed there for singing and dancing. Never did it before…

I also had time to get back to my morning rituals, start the day with a proper yoga practice every morning  and then make my breakfast or have something of the amazing dishes which he mother of my Punjabi family made. Always after a proper, 7-8 hour sleep.

I also spent more time with the mother of my Punjabi family. And how beautiful teaching it is, that although she is a typical mum who is busy all the time, when I approach her not with judgements but a clean mind and an open heart, I can see not only how she is stuck in the trap of being unable to rest in silence for a moment. This was why I felt her energies so heavy earlier. The constant rush. Now I could also feel that there is actually a very joyful easiness in this daily “rush”, and if I am open to her, I can also have a bath in her sweet, playful, loveful energies following her everyday life.

One of the blessings of these days was when we were not allowed on the streets, there was no noise. What a great gift it is in India.

A nice teaching of these days was how to appreciate food. There were days when the vegetable market was closed so we could only use whatever was at home. Some potatoes and onions, and the tons of lentils, chickpea, rice and wheat flour. It was a nice teaching for me from Punjab anyhow how to eat simply. A few months ago I didn’t understand how people can eat rice and dahl (lentils) every day. And it was the biggest surprise for me that actually I still enjoy it, after almost 6 weeks in Punjab. There was only one thing I needed, some fresh salad to go with that rice and dahl. These days the fresh salad was the Indian one (onion with some lemon juice, which is actually amazing :-)). Even once the sabji mandi opened, first everything was so expensive. So we only bought what was really necessary. Tomatoes for more than INR 100/kg were not necessary. By Sunday it came to light that I have better connections in the sabji mandi than I expected. Usually the market opens around 5 pm and before that time there is only one seller, who I often visited when I wished some fresh vegetables after arriving home from school. By now the seller knew me and he gave me so good price even on these hard days that I could probably buy tomato cheaper than my hosting family. What a change after being offered the tourist price all over India…

Another benefit of the suspension of internet service was that since I knew I cannot publish anything for a few days anyhow, I was always writing about whatever I felt like. When I was in the mood, I was writing about some travel tips which I planned for so long time, remembering the times when I kept travelling from city to city. When I felt something really heavy with me, I was writing about that and when I was just longing for something light, I was writing about food or some nice experiences with kids e.g. Writing has never been so organic, so flowing like these days.

It also happened these days that I was invited to the dance teacher’s home. It was an interesting experience for so many reasons. Soon after I arrived,  4 little girls showed up from the neighbourhood, who were so eager to dance with me. I still haven’t got used to these situations, when the great Punjabi dancers are so keen on dancing with me but due to language barriers and the cultural ones I have no chance to give them even a hint about what is free dancing, so I just start dancing, knowing that they will try to follow. First I didn’t care, was just dancing my own dance and realized that some of the kids are trying so hard to follow, I tried to help a bit. Loved it. But then more children joined, tried to make it even easier to follow and then one of them started to complain that it was too easy. Well, I can literally visualize my Ego in a great struggle in these situations. No doubt that this is the teaching here, working on my connection to my Ego.

Although the dance teacher’s family members hardly speak any English, they were always so curious about me that I didn’t feel closed in my bubble, like it happened so many times with other people in Punjab. And somehow they were curious in a loving way, so I also didn’t feel like an alien. But there was still one point which felt rather strange: they usually have dinner only around 10 pm and since I was hungry earlier, I had dinner on my own, while 4 people were staring at me and analyzing every little gestures on my face to see which dish I enjoy the most… Now it may sound nothing special but when sitting there and trying to eat those delicious but big lemon pickle pieces and saucy sabjis in a civilized way..wow 🙂  To experience this extreme kind of hospitality, one really needs to visit Punjab. And be open to accept some invitations from local people. For example on the days when there is no internet service…

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