"Full many a ray of purest ray serene the dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness to the desert air."
from "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kailash 2014 Day 0 : The Day Before, Wednesday Sep 03 2014

After five months of thinking and planning, we had reached the much-awaited day - the day before we fly out from Delhi to Kathmandu to start the Kailash-Manas Sarovar trek.

I woke up nauseated in Ahmedabad, unable to keep anything in. And now in the last leg of a whirlwind tour of Delhi-Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Delhi in 4 days where I have been mostly sick, my lower legs swollen to twice their size, I had to stay hungry till I reached Delhi safely. I landed in IGI T3 in Delhi severely nauseated, the lack of sleep weighing down my tired swollen eyelids, my face and arms now swollen as well - I was getting used to being gigantic. Rajeshji had sent the cab and texted me the cabbie's number as usual, and a kind-eyed person loaded my bags into a car, and drove me to the Chinmaya Ashram in NOIDA. 

The Hanuman Moorti of Sector 37 knows me well, I had arrived at my home away from home. Chidrupanandaji was away, no cheerful homecoming with the Swamiji who reads me like a book so I can bask in the comfort of not having to actually say anything, nor is anything I say a surprise. I care for him like a child, worrying about his food and clothes when he is traveling, so not getting to see him, added to the pain of bad health, lack of sleep and the little nourishment. There was nobody outside the ashram, I reached the courtyard and sat down for a while, staring at the shivalingam. There was a new brick structure around it since I saw it last year, and I spent some time thinking about building the same in the backyard in Dallas. After sitting for a while, I walked around but could not find anyone. Finally, I settled on a chair in the assembly hall, looking up at the pictures of Gurudev and Tapovan Maharaj, and the smiling idol of Krishna.

On the way to the ashram, I had called Anantanandaji whose blessings take me through every milestone in life. He had told me to boil cumin seeds in a cup of water and drink up the mixture, it would cure me of nausea immediately - this is the first I had heard of such a recipe but I was sure Thakur, the cook at the NOIDA ashram, would know this. Years passed, or a few minutes perhaps, and I looked around again at the courtyard, and went to knock on the kitchen door again, but apparently Thakur had gone out too. So no Swamiji, and no Thakur, I am here in the ashram to plan out any last-minute activity for the yatra, but I can barely stand for a few minutes at a time, and there is nobody to discuss anything with.

I came back to carry out my silent conversation with Krishna - where are you when I most need you? Almost instantly, I heard a human voice. With the last vestiges of energy, I walked towards the voice to the front of the building, and saw two guards. They did not appear surprised that somebody they could not identify was walking out of the building, and they would have ignored me completely if I had not walked right up to them to ask for help - do you know if Swamiji is here? Yes, he is upstairs. A minute ago, I could not walk, now I was climbing steps - I know why Krishna smiles all the time, he entertains himself with the needless drama of our lives.

There were people from the NOIDA mission sitting with Swamiji which gave me time to stay quiet and contain my nausea. When there was a lull in the visits, I asked Swamiji if he could ask Thakur to boil some water with cumin seeds for me. Thakur had come back from his grocery visit, and got me jeera-pani, so here I have to stop for an endorsement - a spoonful of cumin seed boiled in a cup of water does wonders to contain nausea. I discussed whatever logistics questions I had for the yatra with Swamiji, we walked around the terrace for a while and saw the new construction downstairs. Then Swamiji said - Amma, why don't you rest for a while. Grateful, I said thank you, and leaned back on the sofa. When I opened my eyes and looked at my watch, two hours had passed.

The jeera-pani and nap had done wonders, the body was slightly more functional though swollen up and feverish. When Rajeshji came to pick me up an hour later, Thakur had lunch ready. Anytime I have visited the NOIDA ashram, I have enjoyed a yummy meal from Thakur, or from some of the wonderful NOIDA ladies. Rajeshji and Swamiji ate the many things Thakur had made, and some finger-licking tasty Andhra pickle that I will have to wait to taste in another visit. I ate my regular food - steamed rice and yogurt.

By the time we came home, the fever had risen and I fell asleep instantly. Anish reached Delhi in the evening, and packed our bags for the next day. It was a treat to meet Sangita for dinner the day before leaving for Kailash. Everyone had yummy food and I had my favorite steamed-rice-and-plain-yogurt meal once again, and one more cup of boiling water with cumin seed.

Tomorrow is another day.

Aum Namaha Shivaaya!


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