Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hippy Hippy Shake

I'll say this for Rishikesh - it's really one place in India where a hippy can be a hippy. Every year, thousands of Western kids come to India in search of peace, enlightenment, spirituality and cool clothes, and are so often disappointed in their romantic notions. But here Flower Power is still in full flower with flowing caftans, dingly dangly rings on the fingers and bells on the toes.

Another sign of prolific hippiedom is the availability of brown rice. So far I have found no less than three restaurants that have it available on a regular basis. (My Indian friends may not recognize the significance of this for western vegetarians). So now I go to Mukti's hole-in-the-wall health food shop ("extraterrestrial mashed potatos") for my daily dose. Only yesterday, my brown rice and freshly steamed squash had some kind of flying bug in it. A dead one. I'm not sure if it's better or worse that the bug was dead when I found it.

Mukti just kind of plucked it off and handed the bowl back to me. I had to explain to him (he's been cooking for foreigners for about 20 years) that I didn't want the piece of squash the bug had died on, either. He looked puzzled as he picked out the piece and threw it away. There was no point in explaining that, by Western standards, he was meant to throw out the bug infested dish and offer a new, bug-free one. It just doesn't work that way here (unless you are in a five-star hotel - but even then, you should never ever give them the plate and let them de-bug it. All they will do is take it to the kitchen, and a few minutes later give you the same plate back, minus the bug).

Perhaps in recompense, Mukti invited me to a village wedding some 20 kms from here. A Garhwali village wedding sounded like fun, not to mention the free food. So we will take the local bus up into the hills tomorrow at the ungodly hour of 8am. It won't matter if we're a bit late - Indian weddings are an all day affair. My friend Laurie asked, "but when IS the wedding?" I said, All day. She thought I was kidding.

4 comments:

Aadil said...

Nice story about the bug in your plate and how they de-bugged it!!! Loved that term de-bugged very much!!! HAHAHA!!!

Cheers,
Aadil.

Shinu Mathew said...

Siren,
Are you still in Rishikesh? How come there were no posts about the changed scenario about Nepal?
Nepal has returned to some sort of sanity and normalcy as per the reports. But I believe more bloodshed and violence is on the card because Maoists are not satisfied and they are not going to stayt calm. Whaddaya think?

GJs said...

You're going back to McLeod Ganj? I'm going to be a week or so behind you, it seems; am also going to Rishikesh, Haridwar, then Mcleod, but starting next week ... the reports of the heat seem quite oppressive! Is it manageable? I believe in the "just showing up" style of travel, am being told I'll have difficulty in finding places to stay, and possibly difficulties in transportation ... any thoughts?

Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

Hi GJS:
May not make it to McLeod, as I am due for a visa run to Kathmandu (until recently, it was Kathman-Don't) pretty soon. McLeod will come after the Dalai Lama's teachings in Spiti June 9-15.

Rishikesh and Haridwar are hot, but manageable. McLeod will be much better, more like Shimla temps. Check "What's the weather in..."link on my sidebar.

For housing, Rishikesh and Haridwar are no problem - because everyone (almost literally, every other person I speak to) has gone to McLeod. It's high season there (for good reason). Write again and let me know where you end up!