In 2010 when I joined Couchsurfing with thanks to a dear friend called Sean, I was still in college and only just beginning to dream about freestyle exploring – travelling the horizons.
When I went to university in the proceeding days I decided to have a browse in the local area of the registered Couchsurfing members one afternoon and found a sincerely warmhearted looking fellow who had come to Loughborough to complete a sports Masters, from India – by name; Aman. And he happened to be a local number one table tennis champion in his region (& I have always been great at table tennis – or so I thought) – so I sent him a friendly request for a game with no fear! After an impressive thrashing (from his side) and some engaging conversations, I was really happy to make my first Couchsurfing friend.
Aman really gave me my first insights and outlooks about how to make the most of the community! We even took an adventure of our own to explore a city further north of our Uni, having found an eccentric warm welcomer to look after us during our short stay – immediately I was inspired.
I truly believe one’s philosophy for world freedom, unity consciousness, peace and cultural diversity is empowered with cohesion through the art of travel. Travel in the name of Human connection and individual & community enrichment.
A year and a half later, Aman invited me to his wedding back home in India. Naturally, I’m thrilled. Exhilarated at the idea. So I go. It’s early 2012 and my life is in a deep transmutation of ideals and observations as a whole. So surely at this time this would be just the trip I need! The light I see at the end of my tunnel is emanating great mystery and I remain in optimism and positively encouraged – fortune favours the brave! It was as if there were unreckonable potentials for my personal destiny to be defined ~ lurking around the corner of each mundane choice and each day of my awakened awareness (and so it still remains).
When I get to Delhi airport – it’s a small hour in the morning. I catch a taxi to the address where I’m staying. The next day, my dear friend Aman picks me up on his motorbike – and we breeze through bustles of madness and otherworldly road conduct to a favourite of his places to eat a chick-pea curry with some fried bread. Today is day one of the most amazing snacks I’ve ever had! It was a knockout punch of delight and belly power which stayed with me. Over the course of time running up to my friend’s wedding I just about got attuned to the style of things and I found all of Aman’s friends to be fun, kind and caring.
A few days into this adventure, I found myself in the mesmerising phenomena of an Indian wedding! A thrill for all the senses – with out of this world colours, smells, tastes and scenes of ceremony. It was a heartwarming manifestation of divine communion. This was as much an awakening call to me as to what time space I’ve truly found myself to be in -What otherworldly glory!
Considering that about a year before taking this adventure my mind began to be opened to spirituality et cetera, I had heard about the holy side of this land and it’s highly advanced Masters – the Sadhus – who maintain a sacred way of conscious life. This, along with a yearning for nature peace and calm (away from the buzzing chaos in the cities) led me to ask my friends how to navigate for such experiential orientation: where do I go?
Of course the hand they all appointed immediately was towards the north – Himalayan foothills. The particular region to which they suggested I first go to was where the Tibetan monk order dwells, in exile with the Dalai Lama, in McLeodganj..
Now this was something different – fresh air lush greenery magnificent scenery mysterious looking people and wild animals. The monkeys were a mischievous might amongst the unwitting tourists. I was breathtaken, letting myself dissolve for Worlds Apart it felt like I was home. And just as I was enjoying a rest at a bench with some Chai, an elderly fellow with a white beard and curiously sparkling eyes made his friendly approach towards me after we had a distant moment of recognition…
“Have you just arrived?”
He asked me. And I nodded, returning his smile. A woman appeared beside us and introduced herself as Susan – and the man named as Sudan.. at least this won’t be easy to forget! Chuckling to myself, I offered them both a hand. The next day I found myself at their apartment a little walk away exploring the world and learning a whole new essence of truth in art. Sudan turned out to be a renowned spiritual artist using a particularly fascinating technique to create pinpoint coagulations of colours into incredibly detailed images – which he does so in a deep state of meditation.
“I don’t even know what the image is going to be until it appears throughout the transmission…”
He tells me, as I flick through his collection. I was in sheer disbelief at the thought of his gift – just to sit holding a pen tapping, in a transverse state, and allowing each dot to have its placement on the page by its random appearance, making up a finally detailed landscape of nature or portrait or even a building – is beyond anything I could’ve dreamed being possible. We played music and sang, enjoyed delicious food – it was a warm welcome… Something of an offering to have trust, to be positive and enjoy the moment.
Being here & now is a skill, in-definitive. What I learned observing the locals in this vast land as a whole (but particularly around the marvelous mountains in the north) is that there is a depth in the sense that collectively, what happens happens through an inner prevalent grounding of human being … it’s something that can never truly be verbally explained – and once fathomed from within the direct experience is an essential upheaving in principle.
Further on in this trip, Couchsurfing became a worthy parallel to my own instinct as a means by which new opportunities of cultural submergence became accessible! This was best proved once I reached the ‘pink city’ Jaipur and was greeted by Kabir Khan my hosts on his motorbike. I stayed with his wonderful family in a backstreet part of town that some would call ‘the ghetto’ – a rundown network of alleyways where holy cows roam free and craftsman of all kinds practice the trade in the open. Other Couchsurfers had arrived a couple of days before and invited me to join them to the Elephant festival the following morning. It seems like a coincidence of an unmissable opportunity, of course I joined with delight – and on and on with the Holi festival of colours a couple days also after… it was an absolute miracle of an experience. Opening my eyes to worlds that I’d been chasing.
Worlds of human compassion, animal reverence, natural beauty and artistic elevation. Worlds of pure kindness, deep and soulful wisdom, absolute essence in the most sacred of meaning. It is a very long story indeed. But I have promised myself to go back, back to the mother India for reconciliation once again. She gave me a ride to see the world with in a new light. She broke my misconceptions in many ways about the values of life. She tested my courage in the most delicate ways with wholesome integrity being the outcome.
And thanks to the fellow travellers and hosts on Couchsurfing many magical moments were opened up on the path!
Photo courtesy of: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kristinruhs