Monday, 6 March 2017

#4 Gurus, body parts and Bob Marley

On my last day in Varanasi I went with Rajesh back to the city. He took me to get some henna and then sent me off on a walking tour of the oldest part of town.

Getting Henna in Varanasi
March 6, 2017

It was like a maze and there was no way I could have navigated it without a guide. The alley ways were very narrow and at times we had to squeeze past cows who have the right of way of course.

The walking guide was quite a character and unfortunately a bit creepy. He asked me if I was single pretty early on. Never a good sign. Then he really really wanted to take me to the karma sutra temple even though I said no many times. Something about him made me uncomfortable.

He kept on about it but I was determined not to endure that level of awkwardness with him. He went on to ask me a whole bunch of rather inappropriate and personal questions. Is it too much to ask to go on a walking tour without one's intimate history being examined I wondered?

It turned out when he wasn't trying to pry into tourists personal lives he was also a part time Bob Marley fan. He decided this was a good time to play some tinny reggae from his phone. So now not only was I getting the usual white tourist stares I was now also a tourist following a short Indian man in Ray Bans blasting Bob Marley. Fan-bloody-tactic.

The tour led us down to the ghats again and to the crematorium which I was morbidly fascinated by. I wasnt dissapointed! There were dead feet sticking out of the piles of wood and bits of bubbling roasting flesh.

The priest told me that the families are ok with tourists coming to look because they were so proud their loved ones had made it to the Ganges.

At some point during the day Mr Ray Bans and I got talking about gurus and palm reading as I was still thinking about what Mr Travel Agent had said in Delhi.

Varanasi seemed like a good a place as any to go to a guru especially because it is meant to be a very spiritual city. And of course Mr Ray Bans knew just the place. Mr Guru wanted to charge me an arm and leg to read my palm which was ironic because there were plenty of free arms and legs going at the crematotium. I bargained him down to 500 rupees from 1500.

He sat me down and took my left palm in his hand and began to tell me about my past.

He told me I was very independant and didn't like relying on anyone. It's a pretty safe bet when someone is travelling alone.

"You are like coconut. You put up hard outer shell but inside you are soft," he said in his gentle Indian accent.

He then told me I had some kind of intellectual/social job rather than manual labour. Again anyone can see that. My arms are tiny and my hands are callous free. I wasn't impressed.

Then he moved on to the present and said I'd had my heart broken three times and would have always problems with romantic relationships. But that I had a good relationship with my family.

According to him I wouldn't get any bad diseases but I would have issues with my lower back later in life and that I should do yoga. Given my height, that's another good guess. I'd also live until I was 85. Yippee!!

He finished by telling me I would have two children and would marry a younger foreign man in four years time. Hilarious. Mr Guru then tried to convince me to buy some stones that would help me with my unluckiness in love. I declined.

With that I left Mr Ray Bans, Mr Guru and lovely driver Rajesh behind in their crazy, hazy city of cows, cremations, palmistry and lassi and headed for Agra on an overnight train.

No comments:

Post a Comment