After spending 6 weeks in traditional Punjabi countryside, I couldn’t wait to move forward. No matter how much it hurt to say good-bye to those wonderful people around me. As much as I enjoyed having a daily routine after 6-month travelling when I arrived in Punjab, by now I really needed to break the routines and leave behind the closed Punjabi communities, just follow the flow of travelling again. The art festival organized by my friends in Parvati Valley at this weekend was the best opportunity for this.
The first stop of the journey was Chandigarh
A surprising meeting
In Chandigarh I was supposed to meet an Indian guy, who is running a facebook group for backpackers in India and with whom I had been in contact for a while but we had never met in person. It seemed to be an ideal opportunity. By this time I had learnt that when it comes to guys (especially Indian guys) we rarely share the same understanding of our relationship: what seems to me a friendship, can easily mean something totally different to him. So I prepared for the meeting with the expectation that he would probably want to approach me with some more or less hidden intention and I will need to stand on my feet to say a clear “no”. It was the biggest surprise when we met and started to talk and it soon came to light that he is not interested in me as a woman at all. But much rather as a travel blogger with whom he may want to co-operate. What a beautiful surprise it was 🙂 We shared a nice continental dinner and I had my “welcome to the world outside Punjab” beer in his company. He was the first Indian I met outside Punjab who refused to have a beer while driving a car (and the first one in whole India who asked me to use the safety belt btw :-)) Then he dropped me to the overnight bus and I left for Parvati Valley.
Arriving in Parvati Valley
My arrival at Parvati Valley felt like a little retreat from the Universe. From Bhuntar I took the local bus to Kasol and told the ticket collector that I would like to get off by the last village before Kasol, where I supposed that the festival is located. Then I got lost in enjoying the view and some music and didn’t realize in time that we reached the village and the ticket collector also forgot to remind me. So I arrived in Kasol, where they told me the next bus to Katagla goes in 10-15 minutes. Was not happy with this course of events because I was really tired at this time but accepted. Was just waiting for the bus when a car stopped with some local friends who were just on the way to the festival, the location of which was changed to Kasol. I suddenly became grateful for those course of events leading me to Kasol 🙂 And felt home…so much home…with beautiful people around, on whom I know I can rely, but with some tension in my belly, because of struggling with finding my own space in this environment. It took some time for me to really arrive in the big community of people I met before and those many new faces.
Re-union after 2 months
What happened in Parvati Valley while I was away for cc two months? Life was going on as usual, my friends devoted to creation, working on the idea of Sadhana Community (the promo event of which was taking place at this particular weekend), enjoying all the retreats of the Himalayas, all the fruits ripening in the garden, hiking, hosting the new girls and boys arriving to explore and share all the joy, chillums… And it seemed like the Universe also wanted to show that reality is there even in this magical place…the Russian chef working in my friends’ guesthouse got arrested a few days before, after overstaying with his visa for 5 years in India. I don’t remember how long he needs to stay in the Indian jail, but not a short time….
The weekend was all about the festival. Meeting so many people devoted to arts and the Himalayas. A beautiful girl from Iran performing fire shows and making beautiful leather accessories. Another beautiful girl from India passionate about cooking, and she was my main partner at the weekend in helping with the decoration and in dancing. <3 Connecting to her both playful and firy energies was a delight. Amazing reggae impro artists from Europe and Africa, amazing dj-s, tattoo artists, photographers, party deco artists. Seeing how people get inspired by each other and Mother Earth, how spontaneously and organically the common work and self expression is building a community, leading to something new, how new paintings are showing up in any surfaces left empty…
After many many weeks in the Punjabi countryside where there was only sugary-malty chocolate powder instead of the pure cocoa powder, having a European style chocolate cake, melting softly in the mouth and tasting like the finest dark chocolate… was just a piece of heaven.
It was also nice to experience how some people spontaneously start to join my yoga practices and how good it feels to share whatever knowledge I can, without the desire for being perfect or showing up perfect.
The main thing was of course the dancing. I was thinking of including my dancing experiences in a different post, offered straight to the dancer communities I know but then I remembered the wisdom from those beautiful teachers I met on my path: Everyone is a dancer. And yeah, if there is a chance to inspire more people to follow their inner movements and use it to build a closer connection to nature and themselves, I wanna take that chance. So, I encourage every single person reading this post to go out to the nature, take off your shoes, take a few deep breaths, just feel how Mother Earth is supporting you and open your awareness to all the sounds, all the animals and plants around, and bring them into dance 🙂
One of my favourite experiences at this weekend was when I was just sitting on a rock near the river and let my body gently floating with the sounds of nature. Once a butterfly stopped right next to me. Closing and opening its wings in perfect harmony with how I felt like switching between opening my arms (and my heart) and closing myself in.
And well, it was a small festival and at some parts of the day I was the only one dancing. And even when others were dancing around, could not connect to most of them easily. I was dancing for hours and hours, discovering again and again how I can inspire myself, be my own dance partner, just as the huge trees around.
And because I love cooking and life is so generous in the Himalayas
On Sunday we visited a small cafe on the top of a hill in a village nearby. It was a really chilled place, people enjoying life and the chillums. I got very hungry and when I asked for some mix veg curry, first they told they don’t have any vegetables. Then I was offered to have a look in the kitchen. Here I found some capsicum, tomato, potato, carrot, onion and ginger. And since in India everything is possible, I just started to cook myself in the kitche of the cafe. Loved it. A nice sabji with some garam masala and…. I even got some oregano. Hadn’t met this amazing herb which I use so often in Hungary since I arrived in India. Was so happy to have it that jst started to mjaszol it plain and also mixed with the Indian flavours, which came out really nice 🙂 The young local guy, who was also just helping out in his friend’s cafe’s kitchen just because he loves cooking, let me help with making the paronthas also, so I preapred my first plain paronthas. With moderate success, they became a bit crispy. Will keep practicing 🙂
After the festival
After the festival I was supposed to leave for Nepal but of course first I went to chill a bit in my friends’ guesthouse and was also considering joining them in a trip to Prashar Lake to enjoy the fullmoon. We arrived in the guesthouse on Monday evening. By Tuesday morning it felt like time has stopped. Early morning I found myself washing the dishes with the springwater coming from the Himalayas, under the gently warm morning sun rays, standing in the middle of the “washtub” on the ground. This is the scene when it feels so easy to experience how routine activities can become a form of meditation, filled up with joy.
Afterthat I started my yoga practice on the open balcony with a view to those beautiful hills with an English girl and and African guy who have never practiced yoga before. Later I participating in a yoga photo shooting and interview for the promotion of Sadhana community and once I started talking with a nice guy from Malaysia who was a friend of the two reggae artists entertaining us all day in the guesthouse. And who was also just about to go to Nepal on his motorbike and offered me to join him on the way. It didn’t take too long for me to say yes. Seemed like one of those amazing adventurous opportunities of life keep coming up in incredible Himalayas and my body said I can trust him. This is the beginning of the next story.