By Harrison Wohlfarth
So this week was pretty dope. We started off with a bus ride from the O.G. city of Delhi to the humble mountains of Darhamsal after being delayed several hours (shout out to Indian transportation services). Despite having to wait several hours for the bus and meanwhile chilling on the streets of India, we eventually got to where we needed to go, though, which is all that really matters, I suppose. The moment we got off the bus in Darhamsala, everything felt different. The air was cleaner (or at least I think it was). Besides the occasional guy who insists on killing your ear with his horn, the sounds of Darhamsala were much more serene. Overall, the vibes getting off the bus were pretty chill compared to our previous experiences throughout India.
Eventually, we arrived at Dev Bala (the Farm) and were greeted by Devinder G, the humble fellow letting us stay at his rather humble abode. Humble, however, is probably not the best word to describe his farm. I say that because this farm was decked out. Devinder basically took farming to the next level. Inside the houses you’ve got the classic French kitchen feel where all the magic happened. Devinder’s wife cooked one heck of a meal. And outside you had two of every fruit and vegetable it seemed like (that’s an exaggeration but he had a lot of plants). I think just seeing what Devinder was doing made a lot of us want to get into farming. I know I’m considering it. I could go on for a while just describing the looks of this place but time is rupees so I need to wrap this up.
Basically what we were doing on the farm included a lot of time out in the fields with my two farmer friends, Gawalasing and Mongolsing. These guys were veteran farmers and showed us a thing or two during our time helping out in the fields. Almost every day around 9 most everyone would go down and help these two guys to farm. Our tasks usually included harvesting a lot of ginger and garlic which were used to cook different things. The really cool part was that the ginger which we brought up to the kitchen was then used by some of us who were tasked with helping to make tea in the kitchen. Along with the ginger, the kitchen people had to go on a journey into the garden to gather the rest of the ingredients. The kitchen was my personal favorite, but some people took pride in other things. For example, someone really wanted to clean a cow. But hey, everyone’s got their own thing.
Anyway, I think one thing that happened during the week that I’m sure most people would consider a highlight was our journey to the Dhali Llama temple where we got to kinda see, but mostly listen to, the main man of Buddhism himself speak. This is an experience that I can’t quite describe because I’m not sure I’ve fully comprehended it yet, but it was pretty impactful, to say the least. The only way I can describe how it felt while we were there listening to him and witnessing his very existence is comparable to what seeing Santa Claus would have been like as a child. I don’t want to speak for everyone else but, in other words, just being in the presence of the Dhali Llama was a pretty magical experience.
Another wonderful person who graced us with his presence was the Tibetan artist whose name is escaping me at the moment but who showed us a film about the struggles of the Tibetan people and their culture over the past century. The film combined with the knowledge this guy was laying on us felt like a semester’s worth of history wrapped into a burrito that took an hour and a half to eat. So, all in all, a pretty big burrito. Overall this was one of my favorite weeks, personally, and we got to do a lot of different things. We even celebrated Halloween. That was fun.
Anyways, now we’re off to the Himalayas for our four-day trek. Until the next Bilbo Bloggins, this is Harrison Wohlfarth signing off. Namaste!