From Rishikesh To Ladakh

Blog from Rachael J.

As I’m on my bed that is closer to the floor than I expected at SECMOL (The “Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh”) where I’m trying to string together the many similes so the reader can actually feel what I am talking about. I try to think of an onomatopoeia that distinctly describes the many noises or the lack of noises that I hear while in rural and urban areas. I try to ponder ways to turn my words into a graceful ballerina doing pliés across my pallet. I know I’m using “I” a lot but this experience so far has shifted my imagination, beliefs, and spirituality immensely so I’ll start by telling you my journey so far. I apologize to jump right into where I want so abruptly but here I go!

The moment I got out of the jeep and landed my feet on the gravel of Rishikesh I fell in love. Spirituality gripped my 3rd eye as a new born baby would grip an index finger. I laid in my bed (that wasn’t so close to the floor) and toppled into a deep meditation. My body rose, my head spun left to right on different plexuses; I was clear.The streets of Rishikesh had hippies sprinkled perfectly all over it with their locks that I had once. I watched them enter the many book stores and organic markets that fascinated me. (I shaved my head in Rishikesh to celebrate life, the start of a new me) as you can see I put it in parentheses to indicate that it isn’t such a big deal to me, but you my reader are probably in awe…

Rishikesh is where the Beatles travelled and created their album. The group argues Intensely about which album it was so I’m not sure which one. But, hey! You’re the one with Internet access so can you look it up for me??

The most life changing experience happened to me in Rishikesh. I visited the abandoned ashram the Beatles practiced mediation in and it was breathtakingly beautiful. There were paintings and graffiti art and this is where I married my love: painting. I painted everywhere, even on my own skin. Now I yearn to paint each day.

Sadly I had to leave Rishikesh after 2 nights. Not being able to completely indulge in the spirituality that Rishikesh had to offer, tiny orbs projected into the streets on Rishikesh forming into light bodies to let me know that there is still a pleasant grip around my 3rd eye.

As I left Rishikesh with a new taste of spirituality, I entered Leh, Ladakh. The air was frigid compared to central India. I saw Ladakhis with thick sweaters, scarves and thick pants and there was the Carpe Diem group with the touristy thin, low-crotch pants with elephants and stripes and thin t-shirts varying from cotton to nylon. I immediately unsnapped my Osprey bag that is bigger than me and dove my hand into the bag to search for my blue puffy jacket that was too deep inside my bag so Elana let me wear the dreaded typical Patagonia. We layered up and exited the airport watching the mountains stand still as we drove into Leh.

The trees and mountains were beautiful like a huge painting that I can take home with me, but couldn’t. The yellow, orange and brown trees resemble everything within me- the old me to the new me. I’m vibrant yellow, orange and new.