You thought we were gone? not yet, this is how the story continued…
In Jammu we took an overnight bus and arrived to Delhi completely under the monsoon. The moment we stepped off the bus the rain dropped like buckets from the sky. We were soaked in one second and after assembling the bikes by the side of the road we set off looking for a bus for Yoel. It was 6am and everything was still closed but in India there is always an answer for your question and the answer is always a bit further and after a turn, may be right may be left. After unsuccessful attempts to find a bus agency we took shelter from the rain at the back of a train station. We finally found a bus for 5pm and parked the bikes in the agency. We had the rest of the day to hang out in the floods, get a 2 minute ride in the metro and get lost in the market of spare car parts… a very romantic farewell! Those were our last hours together. After one year on the road moving within half a km distance from each other, taking decisions together, sharing food and shelter, now it was time to say goodbye and split paths. Yoel is going back to France to join a friends reunion and spend the summer with his family. I decided to stay in this side of the world to study yoga and Thai massage.
We said bye under a stormy dark sky and each of us was so concern for the other that we didn’t have much worry to spare for our own journey. Yoel had 24h to travel 1300km to be on time for his flight, find a box for his bike and make it to airport… and experience had taught us not to plan too tight in India. I had to cross Delhi from the old town in the north to the very south, 20km in the capital of India under the rain was not the smooth journey home I would have dreamt of making by myself just after waving off my dear road companion. But when in life there are no choices we gather all we have and make our way through. And so that was the story, after 200m of cycling with tears and raindrops in my eyes the perfectly busy road became a perfectly busy river, the street was flooded and I was cycling along with other rickshaw pullers with the water to my knees. The water carried all the dirt from the street and it was impossible to know what was on the way or under me. It wasn’t the best road to be on but the only thing that was clear at that moment was that I didn’t dare stop my motion and put my feet down. I pushed on, followed behind rickshaws and I yelled people and things out of my way. I did not see a single female around. Once the flood disappeared the rest was easy. After 2h I made it to Sadananda’ house, a Warmshowers host.
Sada is another gentle man, thank you! He started cycling to go to work inspired by his friend and then he took a step further and ventured to Spiti valley on his own. He grew up in a village in Orissa and although his father never went to school and doesn’t know how to read or write, Sada made it to university in Delhi and is today a Professor of Sociology there. It was the first time I was being hosted alone and by a single man but Sada’s sensitivity made it all so easy. He hosted me for 3 days and helped me sort out the exit out of Delhi. During those days the sun came out again and I only saw Delhi from the car windows of Sada’s friends that came to visit in the evening. I was not ready for Delhi, it will have to be another time.
I cleaned and packed my bike and took a train down to Nasik where I left her and some of my belongings in somebody’s spare flat. Just outside of Nasik is the Ashram where I will study yoga in a couple of months. Now my mission is to continue travelling south to meet a very dear friend that when I left Liverpool said “I will see you in India” and she was right! I met with Julie in a farm where we spent 2 weeks farming and enjoying the rural beauties of India living in a very peaceful environment. We stayed in a place called Auroville which was born in the 1970 and was designed to be an international township. The principles that founded this project were to live in harmony with nature and humanity by creating a place on Earth where everybody would be welcomed despite nationality, cast and religion. The concept sounds good but the practice is less ideal. We found oddities in the system and we found inspiring works. We lived in Buddha Garden where we worked in the farm every morning and slept to the sound and fury of storms and sometimes to the moist of their drops! We swam in the sea, learned Indian recipes (still haven’t mastered chapatis) and met truly beautiful people with whom we made friends so quickly it made life so easy. The return to south India was fun and easy and a good balm to gather energy for the next part of the journey.