“Go lightly, simply….Just go, and follow the flowing moment. Try not to cling to any experience. The depths of wonder open of themselves.” Frederic Lehrman
Its four o`clock in the morning. We are prowling around like alley cats, getting our gear together and sneaking out of the house with stealth befitting a seasoned burglar. We need to get on to the road. This trip is scheduled for a time before the world stirs and adds its white noise to the beautiful and spiritual silence of the morning. As planned, we hit the quiet grey roads with our cycles when it is still dark.
Our route takes us off the main road and into the smaller village paths. Before long we are confronting acres, if not miles of open fields. Fields that are ripe with wheat, the fragrance of which is permeating the fresh air that we are breathing greedily.
The indigo blue sky darkens as an enormous clutch of crows takes to the air quietly. I have never seen anything like this ever before. It`s an unusual sight.
Silent crows, an oxymoron like no other! The picture of the wheat field now glowing with a dull gold light and the backdrop of a slowly lightening sky with a profusion of large black birds reminds me of Van Gogh`s, “Wheatfield with Crows”. Landscapes such as these should be committed to memory, if one is lucky enough to see them…
We cross sleepy villages just stirring to life. The simple Gurudwara we cross is well into its prayers and its soft soothing words envelope us like a protective cape as we pedal away. Immortal words, recited with a mellifluous voice, giving hope and faith to all those who hear them. Our meanderings take us into the villages. The smell of cow dung and Earth, again, timeless, greets us. If there is a fragrance associated with simplicity, it would be found in our villages. People here routinely invite us to stop for some tea.
We finally do break our journey and promptly
manjis are brought out to accommodate all of us. Fresh sugar cane is chopped and laid out. Little grand-children are brought out and introduced to us proudly. They look healthy and beautiful. Our tea arrives and it has never tasted better than it does here, under the trees, surrounded by wheat fields, gushing tube wells and genuine human warmth. We chat for a long time. It’s so easy to communicate with each other when smiles are aplenty. Before we leave, a doctor in our group hands out his calling card and invites our hosts to visit his clinic for free check-ups and consultation, should they ever need one. The offer is taken up with gratitude. They give us their cell numbers too, inviting us to partake of their hospitality anytime we are here.
Soon, we are on our way. The sun has risen and is beating down mercilessly. Yet, there is a cool breeze that keeps wiping off our sweat. I come away thinking about the perfect existence of a parallel world.
A quote by Pam Brown on Travelling, comes to mind,
“You will bring back a sheaf of photographs. But you will bring back more. A vision of a wider world.. Remembered laughter… New understanding…”