Remember when I said i was done with my India posts?? Well I lied...
On the 'free' day we had in Varanasi I met a guy. His name was Manish. Basically he came up and started talking to me- and since his English was very good I started chatting with him. This wasn't unusual- but it was unusual in the market to not have every person approaching you with "Would you like to buy...??" He just asked if we were lost (oh don't get me wrong- he still wanted to take us to his 'uncle's' shop so we would buy stuff but he was not aggressive or pushy).
He just asked us where we were going- we told him where we wanted to go- and he showed us around the old town.
We ended up spending the afternoon with him in what would be one of the highlights of the trip.
He took us to the tower over the burning ghat where we could witness the ceremony of some burning bodies (where the souls were then directly transported to Nirvana I think I mentioned, circumventing the whole 'reincarnation' aspect of life). We could just observe from above as women weren't allowed down by the pyres. Women were known to cry- which disturbs the souls and prevents them from going to Nirvana. Also - women were known to throw themselves onto the burning pyre and kill themselves along with their sons/husbands. Widows are persona non grata in India (though I'm sure not as much anymore).
Anyhow- Manish wrote me a letter today- he addressed it to "hello blond girl in green" as he couldn't remember my name. He told me about a festival for "Durga" that is happening in Varanasi right now, the weather is getting colder... just chit chat. I can't think what I'll write back? Work is slow because we're waiting for a bunch of briefs to get finalized?! Hmm... I'll have to think about the reply...
Anyhow- I had given him my address not thinking I'd ever hear from him- but how great to now have a friend across the universe.
As soon as my friend Colette gets her pictures uploaded I'll put a pic of Manish. I didn't have my camera handy. In the meantime- here are a couple more from the trip. (Stolen from my friend Sherry)
There is birds in Pushkar.
Bathing at the ghat in Varanasi
Me in a tower in a castle? Palace? Fort? in Jaipur. (We rode the elephants up here)
Dancing in the streets in Pushkar